The Latest: Macron criticizes Champions League format change

PARIS (AP) — The Latest from the FIFA meetings ahead of the Women’s World Cup (all times local):

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3:55 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron has criticized a plan to make the Champions League a largely closed competition.

A concept presented by UEFA to European leagues last month gave 24 of the 32 clubs a guaranteed return to the Champions League each season by introducing promotion and relegation to the competition.

After a meeting with FIFA President Gianni Infantino, Macron offered his support to French soccer federation Noël Le Graët, who has resisted the introduction of the format from 2024 by UEFA.

Macron says “we must defend our model, our clubs and I think it’s not a good idea to sacrifice the viability of our model for the benefit of some at the European level.”

The concept advanced by the European Club Association would make it harder for smaller clubs to earn a place in the group stage of the Champions League.

Macron says “we have often denounced the fact there is so much money in football and particularly men’s football in recent years. We knew despite everything to defend lots of clubs. I am at the side of President Le Graët to defend the French model and…

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