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Last Updated: Monday, 12 November 2007, 19:56 GMT
Platini abandons cup winners plan
Michel Platini at a meeting
Platini wanted to make sweeping changes to the elite competition
Domestic cup winners will not get to play in the Champions League after a proposal from Uefa chief Michel Platini was rejected, BBC Sport understands.

But the team finishing third in the Premier League will now go straight into the group stages and the fourth team will face two qualifying rounds.

There will also be more places for champions of lower ranked nations if the proposals are ratified next month.

And this will mean a place in the group stage for Scotland's champions in 2009.

But with fewer spots available for qualifiers the team finishing fourth in the Premier League will now face a tougher qualification process.

MIHIR BOSE BLOG

Platini's most controversial proposal was for domestic cup winners to play off for the places that currently go to the teams finishing fourth in the top European leagues, but this idea has been dropped.

Platini had outlined his plans to Uefa's European Professional Football Strategy Council, a 16-member group comprising of officials from Europe's leagues, associations and clubs in Nyon, Switzerland.

The new changes will be ratified at Uefa's executive committee meeting in Lucerne on 1 December.

WHO SITS ON THE EUROPEAN PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL STRATEGY COUNCIL?
Four Uefa vice-presidents (including FA Chairman Geoff Thompson)
Four league representatives (Including Premier League chairman David Richards)
Four club representatives (including Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon)
Four Fifpro representatives (Fifpro is the world football players' union)

BBC sports editor Mihir Bose said: "Platini wanted the new club champions to come in from the less privileged parts of Europe.

"He has got that part of the plan through - six new clubs will come in.

"But the other part of the proposal, which involved the cup winners, has been completely abandoned."

The meeting's other significant outcome was the automatic qualification of the team finishing third in the top leagues, including the Premier League.

"The Premier League has won a thumping victory over Platini," added Bose.

The plan had been opposed by the G14, the body which represents 18 of Europe's leading clubs including Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal, who said any change would devalue the reputation of the Champions League.

606: DEBATE

Their view was backed by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

"You have to be careful not to change the Champions League too much by bringing in even more weaker teams because you could find yourself with games with no meaning," he said.

"That would be very dangerous for the quality of the competition."

SEE ALSO
Platini wants Euro place for Cup
24 Aug 07 |  Football


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