Barcelona chief suggests slashing size of Premier League


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The Independent Online

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell today urged the Premier League to slash a fifth of its clubs - and acknowledged that a European superleague is still being considered by Europe's elite.

In a strongly-worded appearance at the Aspire4Sport conference in Doha, Rosell said that the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the European Club Association and UEFA will expire in 2014 and that, as yet, there is no agreement to extend it.

Rosell, the ECA's vice-president, is at the forefront of efforts by leading clubs to have fewer international fixtures.

"If UEFA does not accept, in the worst case scenario, we will go away from UEFA," he said. "Nobody wants this situation."

Rosell revealed that many top clubs want to play Champions League games at weekends but that leagues would have to be dramatically slashed accordingly.

He continued: "It's something all of them would have to agree to. That includes the Premier League, who would have to reduce from 20 to 16 (teams).

"If you explain the idea properly, at the end of the day it's the best way of implementing the competitions in the near future.

"We want a bigger Champions League and hope one day we could play perhaps Barcelona versus Manchester United on Saturdays.

"That's what we are aiming for but to increase doesn't necessarily mean to do it with UEFA."

Rosell added: "We want to have the Champions League under the UEFA umbrella but we want UEFA to hear our demands.

"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 of course. "We are not trying to eliminate dates for national teams - but the number of days our players are used by the national associations is huge."