Michael van Praag will reopen negotiations over the format for the Champions League if he is elected UEFA president on Wednesday, saying a breakaway league would take place “over my dead body”.
The Dutch football boss said he helped avert a Super League during recent talks which ended with controversial changes made to the Champions League, UEFA’s flagship competition, in favour of the big clubs.
Van Praag faces his Slovenia counterpart Aleksander Ceferin in Wednesday’s election to find a replacement Michel Platini, banned for four years for ethics violations, as head of European soccer’s governing body. Ceferin has collected more public declarations of support although Van Praag has refused to give up.
UEFA last month opened up more places to teams from Europe’s biggest four leagues — Spain, England, Germany and Italy – in the lucrative group stage of the Champions League and cut those allocated to the rest.
The announcement followed a deal between UEFA and the European Clubs’ Association (ECA), which represents more than 200 clubs from around Europe.
Van Praag, who said he was part of early negotiations but not the final deal, said the domestic leagues and national football associations had been sidelined from the talks but would be welcomed if they were re-opened under his leadership.