Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

15.13 23 Apr 2021


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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and his Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola have given a strong rebuke to the new Champions League format. 

As European football lost its collective mind over the botched Super League launch, UEFA stealthily passed the most radical overhaul of European club football in over 30-years.

From 2024-25, the Champions League will be expanded to 36 teams and each of them will play a minimum of ten matches

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On Thursday night, City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan became the first major voice to dissent to the changes, saying, "The new UCL format is just the lesser of the two evils in comparison to the Super League."

It's a view backed by his manager Pep Guardiola.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's Carabao Cup final with Tottenham, the City boss said, "We demand - the managers - to reduce the calendar, protect the players and they do the opposite.

"I’m not the guy to tell them.

“Premier League, UEFA, FIFA, we give our opinion and we cannot do anything. If they decide more games then there are more games, the show must go on."

Guardiola says a guaranteed consequence of the fixture pile-on will be more injuries.

“UEFA know it but do they care? Absolutely not," he said, "More games and competitions. We are lucky to be in the Champions League, we are going to play it but it’s a lot, honestly.

It's just always 'play more games' - that's not possible

“Not one midweek off. I cannot train, I’m not a manager, we handle the players as best as possible. It’s just [watching] videos. I cannot train.

"We did not have time for [football] principles in pre-season. Didn’t have a friendly and no midweeks off. The players went to national teams for three games.

"It’s crazy but then they play more games.

“The guys not in Champions League or Europa League, they play a new competition [European Conference League], so let’s go. It’s a lot.

“An actor in the theatre, three times a day? Once a day they like it, but three times a day is too much.”

Klopp v UEFA

Klopp mirrored Guardiola's sense of powerlessness regarding the forthcoming Champions League changes.

The Liverpool manager described the quick death of the Super League as a good thing, but added, “You can't just introduce always more competitions.

“Very good that the new Super League is off the table, but the new Champions League is not great. UEFA showed me the idea and I said I don't like it - 10 games rather than six. No idea where to put them in.

"The only people who never get asked are the coaches, the players and the supporters. UEFA didn't ask us, the Super League didn't ask us.

"It's just always 'play more games' - that's not possible."

"I'm not an expert in the format. The people who produce the calendar to recover the players, they do the opposite because it's their business. I'm not the guy to tell them. Premier League, UEFA, FIFA, we give our opinion, after that we can't do anything.

"If they decide ten more games then 10 more games. The show must go on.

"My business is to prepare the players. If the World Cup plays 56 teams they play 56 teams.”

CONFIRMED: Dublin loses its Euro 2020 matches, games reallocated


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Champions League European Super League Ilkay Gundogan Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Manchester City Pep Guardiola Super League The Super League UEFA UEFA Champions League

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