Caiazzo: Champions League changes a scandal

President of the Premiere Ligue union Bernard Caiazzo has labeled UEFA's changes to the Champions League format as a scandal and a scam.

From the 2018/19 season, Europe's top four leagues will all get four guaranteed places in the Champions League group stage according to UEFA's new qualification rules.

Caiazzo's union represents Ligue 1 teams and while England, Germany, Italy and Spain will have extra teams competing in the prestigious competition, the French top-flight, which is currently ranked joint-fifth best league in UEFA's country coefficient table, will have to make do with just two teams enjoying automatic qualification.

Caiazzo feels the top leagues will now have an unfair advantage.

He told L'Equipe: "In the way it was done, it's a scandal.

"There's currently a power vacuum at UEFA and the ECA (European Club Association) and it's been taken advantage of to impose this reform with the help of UEFA apparatchiks.

"In France, nobody was aware of it. Why did [Lyon president] Jean-Michel Aulas, who's part of the executive office of the ECA, not forewarn anyone in the league? It feels like a scam.

"It's the first step towards a closed European league – a way of allowing rich clubs to earn even more money."

Currently, the third-placed French club has to play two qualifying rounds and could potentially face a club from a top-four league in the final qualifying round.

The new rules will, however, see only one qualifying round which has the backing of Aulas and Bordeaux president Jean-Louis Triaud who both feel the new rules will benefit French football in making it easier for the third team to qualify for the tournament proper.

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