UEFA presidential favorite criticizes Champions League deal
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 13, 2016 05:45 PM
Aleksander Ceferin, 49, head of the Slovenian Soccer Federation and candidate for the UEFA presidency speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in Athens, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. European soccer federations will gather in the Greek capital on Wednesday to elect a new UEFA president to replace Michel Platini, who is serving a four-year ban from the sport. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
ROB HARRIS, AP Global Soccer Writer
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The UEFA presidential election favorite has criticized the secret deal guaranteeing four Champions League group-stage places for Europe's top four leagues.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Aleksander Ceferin expressed frustration UEFA caved into the demands of powerful clubs from Spain, Germany, England, and Italy amid the threat of breaking away to form a closed Super League.
Those countries are guaranteed 16 Champions League places from 2018-21, rather than 11 currently — squeezing teams from lower-ranked leagues like Ceferin's Slovenia.
Ceferin says "it's not frustrating just for me, it's frustrating for all 55 national associations ... we didn't know anything that was going on."
Discussing any Super League, Ceferin says "it will mean war with UEFA."
Ceferin is up against UEFA vice-president Michael van Praag in Wednesday's presidential election.