EFL chief Rick Parry warns Uefa new Champions League format could decimate English football

EFL chairman Rick Parry has warned Uefa its Champions League expansion plans risk decimating the fabric of English football.

European chiefs are set to confirm the new plans to come into effect from 2024 after getting the backing of Europe’s biggest clubs.

But Parry, who was supported by Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish, suggested the planned extra 100 Champions League games per season would destroy the League Cup and be potentially fatal for some of English football’s most historic clubs.

Parry told the European League’s Club Advisory Platform virtual meeting: “The 72 clubs in the EFL are at the heart of their communities

“The League Cup has been in existence for 60 years and is owned and managed by the EFL.

“One of the conditions on the formation of the Premier League was that all clubs would play in it.

“But Uefa proposal poses a major threat to the League Cup, especially with regard to the teams in the Champions League – and it will have a massive effect on EFL revenues

“We estimate we could lose one third of the revenues we distribute to our clubs – which could pose a very real threat to the existence of those clubs.”

Parry was echoed by Selhurst chief Parish, who added: “This would have a devastating effect on domestic competitions in England.

“The League Cup is the largest financial contributor to the EFL and this will be the end of that Cup in its entirety or reduce it to a youth competition."


Clubs like us feel so remote from the decision-making and there is a huge conflict of interest.

Uefa have reached agreement with Europe’s biggest clubs that there will be no weekend games in its club competitions, leaving the field clear for domestic leagues.

The deal effectively kills off the planned European Super League, despite efforts led by Real Madrid to breathe life into the dying embers of the breakaway plan.

But Prem clubs want to thwart the proposal to play two of the 10 games in the initial league phase of the 36-team Champions League “Swiss model” competition in January.

Uefa will formally announce the new format next month but Parish also blasted Nyon chiefs and the influential European Club Association for ignoring the voices of those left out of the elite group.

He said: “Clubs like us feel so remote from the decision-making and there is a huge conflict of interest, with Uefa and the ECA now choosing to make changes for the long term in the middle of a pandemic.

“We are expected to accept them because they’re not as bad as they could have been.

“But there will be a huge impact on us and the creep is never ending.“

Parish and Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow also condemned the proposal, backed by the Prem’s 'Big Six', for a backdoor safety net to be available for two clubs to qualify for the Champions League through their Uefa coefficient score.

The Palace chief said: “If we took it on last season, Leicester were fifth but the two clubs below them [Spurs and Arsenal] would have qualified for the Champions League based on an arbitrary period of success in Europe.”

Purslow added: “It affects domestic competitions if you boost teams from the Europa League to the Champions League based on what they did in the past.

“That would give clubs in the Premier League a £45m advantage over a team that may have finished ahead of them. Most people would see that as unfair and not right.”

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