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Nov 30, 2012

Bundesliga rallies against Platini's plans

Bundesliga officials are opposed to Michel Platini's plan to ditch the Europa League in favour of an expanded Champions League.

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In a recent interview, UEFA president Platini suggested increasing the number of teams in the Champions League to 64 clubs and abolishing the secondary competition.

Bayern Munich president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge rubbished the idea. "We are no friends of the idea to have quantity instead of quality," he said. Rummenigge suggested that the Europa League winners automatically qualify for the Champions League the following year.

Hannover 96 general manager Jorg Schmadtke called the idea "dull and dispensable" and Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp said "it was as stupid as putting Bundesliga and Bundesliga II clubs in one league".

Klopp hopes the idea would not be pushed through while he is still coaching. "I don't get the impression that the Champions League or the Europa League needs reform," he told the press.

VfB Stuttgart general manager Fredi Bobic raised the question of how to name the merged competitions. "Would it still be called the Champions League?" the former Germany international said. "If you integrate Europa League into the Champions League, it would be more of a Europa League."

And Borussia Moenchengladbach boss Lucien Favre warned: "It would be very dangerous if the same teams play in the Champions League year in year out." His club currently plays in the Europa League, after failing to qualify for the Champions League group stage after losing their qualifier against Dinamo Kiev. "The rich would get richer and the gap between the clubs would continue to grow," the Swiss coach added.

The Bundesliga has three clubs in the Champions League this season and a further four in the Europa. All but VfB Stuttgart have already qualified for the knockout stages, with the Swaboninans likely to make it out of their group after their final group game against Molde.

"You should not condemn an idea straight away," Leverkusen general manger Rudi Voller said. "We should listen to the idea first. How many Bundesliga teams would play in the Champions League?"

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