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Nov 17, 2011

Scudamore rejects Rosell league reform

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has rejected a proposal by Barcelona president Sandro Rosell to reduce the major European leagues to 16 teams and play Champions League fixtures at weekends.

• Rosell eyes Europe-wide league reform

Rosell, speaking at a conference in Qatar earlier this week, said he wants Europe's top leagues, including the Premier League, to reduce in size in order to boost the Champions League.

But Scudamore has come out against cutting the Premier League down from its present 20 clubs, rejecting a view he feels suits the Spanish club but not the clubs he represents.

"Well that's very nice of him to issue that as a statement but that's a very Barcelona-centric view,'' Scudamore told CNN. "Our clubs have no view whatsoever to be playing European football on a weekend. European football is a midweek competition, and domestic football is a weekend competition.''

Rosell even suggested a European breakaway league, led by the European Club Association of which he is vice-president, if the number of clubs is not reduced. With the ECA's memorandum of understanding with UEFA expiring in 2014, the organisation is pushing for change.

"The objective of reducing from 20 to 16 teams is to give more space to our players,'' Rosell had said. "We want a bigger Champions League and hope one day we could play perhaps Barcelona versus Manchester United on Saturdays. It's something all of them would have to agree to. That includes the Premier League.

"We want to have the Champions League under the UEFA umbrella but we want UEFA to hear our demands. We would like to have a Champions League with more teams. If UEFA and the ECA reach an agreement then that's good for both parties.

"If not, with or without the UEFA umbrella, the ECA is entitled to organise their own champions' competition by themselves. In the worst case scenario, we will go away from UEFA.''

But Scudamore also rejected the idea of a breakaway league, saying: It's just not going to happen. What has been said has been said but I'm not going to go along with the sentiment.

"In reality we have a Champions League, it's a fantastic competition. Obviously there are some things the clubs would like to alter and ultimately discussions will take place and UEFA will do something to make sure things stay intact. When it comes to ultimate football sanctions you just can't break away.''

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