Bartomeu backs evolution, not revolution of Champions League

By Sports Desk May 05, 2019

Barcelona supporters want more games against Europe's top sides, according to club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who outlined his vision for the "evolution" of the Champions League but ruled out the idea of a closed competition.

Bartomeu's term as president runs until 2021 and the 56-year-old promised to drive Europe's top competition forward during the remainder of his time in charge, saying: "We're going to change it for the better."

The European Club Association (ECA) is set to meet in June to discuss proposed changes to the Champions League, with promotion and relegation from the competition on the agenda set by chairman Andrea Agnelli.

On the morning after his side's 3-0 semi-final first-leg win over Liverpool, Bartomeu told the Guardian a major overhaul of the Champions League is not going to happen.

"When we played Manchester United [in the quarter-finals], it was the first time they'd been here in 11 years," said Bartomeu. "Last night against Liverpool was the first since 2006.

"It can't be that we play many games but not against teams like Liverpool and United.

"No one's talking about a closed league or a Super League. It will be an evolution, and attractive. It won't be a revolution."

Bartomeu continued his push for LaLiga matches taking place in the United States, despite the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) blocking plans for Barcelona's away fixture with Girona to take place in Miami earlier this season.

While admitting he would not want Barcelona's home matches to take place anywhere other than Camp Nou, Bartomeu claimed the presidents of other LaLiga clubs were positive about the proposals.

"We want to continue 'footballising' the United States," said Bartomeu.

"I want there to be three games abroad every year to promote La Liga – one in the US, one in the Middle East, one in Asia. They watch us on TV and it's a way of getting close to those fans."

Asked why other clubs should have their matches moved but not Barcelona, Bartomeu replied: "Ask the president of Girona.

"Other presidents rang me and said: 'Hey, why didn't you call me?'"

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