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  Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 12:11 GMT 13:11 UK
Uefa angers the big guns
Uefa plan to change the Champions League set-up
Uefa plan to change the Champions League format
World Football's Alan Green talks exclusively to G14 Chief Executive Thomas Kurth to find out why G14 are so upset about Uefa's plans to change the format of the Champions' League...

At the World Cup this summer Uefa came under pressure from coaches and players to reduce the burden of domestic football on international competition.

So, they've decided to scale down the Champions League by removing the second group stage.
France complained of fatigue at the World Cup
France and others complained of fatigue at the World Cup

But not everyone is happy. The G14 group of Europe's elite clubs like Real Madrid, Manchester United and Bayern Munich are furious with Uefa.

They think they should have been consulted first before any decision was made. The Champions League is a hugely lucrative competition, and fewer matches may mean less money.

"The decision came as a surprise because it was not announced to us" said Thomas Kurth, Chief Executive of the G14.

"We are not against the proposal as such because we don't know enough about it. All we know is that the second group stage is to be removed, but we have heard nothing about it.

The G14 group includes Real Madrid and Bayern Munich
The G14 group includes Real Madrid and Bayern Munich
"The clubs within G14 do not approve of this procedure, because there should be a consultation with all those involved in the competition.

"You'll have to ask them what their motivation is" he said.

"I don't think this is a question of money. Obviously there is money involved, but that is not the only issue.

"Uefa don't need the agreement of G14, but I think they would be well-advised to seek the support of the clubs before taking such a decision.

"We will discuss among the clubs and may think of alternative proposals to Uefa's. At the moment the change suggested has been the most simple possible, but you could consider a different set-up to the group stage other than eight groups of four.

"There have been plans in the past to play the Champions League with 24 teams in groups of six. This option could be re-discussed".
G14 Chief Executive Thomas Kurth
'We do not approve of Uefa's procedure' - Thomas Kurth

But Kurth dismissed the idea that G14 could sanction the proposals by forming a breakaway competition.

"We have never discussed this possibility within G14, and it's not on the agenda right now".

You can hear all of Alan Green's interview with Thomas Kurth by using the audio link on the front page.


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