Atletico leads Spanish challenge to Champions League revamp

Published 8:59 a.m. ET June 5, 2019 | Updated 9:41 a.m. ET June 5, 2019

PARIS (AP) — Seven Spanish soccer teams have protested against a plan to transform the Champions League into a largely closed competition, openly opposing the European Club Association ahead of emergency meetings in Malta.

Atletico Madrid, second to Barcelona in the Spanish league, is the leading club to complain to the ECA leadership about its vision for launching a “frontal attack” on the stability of the European game in a letter obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Barcelona and Real Madrid, whose officials sit on the ECA executive board, are not among the signatories.

But Spain’s other seven members of the ECA have broken rank to express concern to the organization about a lack of consultation and openness about plans they say represent “the biggest threat in the history of European football in recent years.”

The ECA, which is led by Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli, has pushed a vision presented by UEFA that wants 24 out of 32 teams in the group stage returning the following season regardless of where they finish in their domestic leagues. That would involve promotion and…

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