UEFA's third competition will increase clubs' exposure - Juventus president
A third European club competition will have little commercial value, European Club Association chairman Andrea Agnelli acknowledged on Monday, but it will still be important for smaller clubs seeking to increase their exposure.
The 32-team, yet-to-be-named competition, which would be played in addition to the Champions League and the Europa League, is being discussed with UEFA for 2021 and beyond.
"It's difficult to see commercial value when you look at a third-tier competition because there is very little commercial value, but sometimes we have to listen to our fellow club members who want to participate more," Agnelli, Juventus' president, said at the World Football Summit in Madrid. "The fact that they are participating in international games would allow them to grow and showcase their players going forward."
Agnelli said there were initial discussions about expanding the Europa League from 48 to 64 teams, but the consensus was that it would ultimately hurt the competition, which already struggles against the more prominent Champions League.
The solution was to reduce the number of clubs in the Europa League and have all three competitions played with 32 clubs.
Agnelli also said making adjustments to the new international calendar that will begin in 2024 is "the first thing we have to tackle."
He said clubs would like to see every confederation's tournament being played at the same time every four years, in even-numbered years, to help free up rest time for players.
"We have to think of a moment where players can have a proper four-week rest period," Agnelli said. "And I'm saying this in the interest of all. Players are exceptional, but they are not machines. Football players are like Formula One cars. If you actually use them too much, they just break."
FIFA has been leading talks to discuss the new calendar and issues such as the continental championships and when clubs must release players for national team duty.
Agnelli also said it would be ideal to limit the potential maximum number of games for clubs to 43 per season.
"I want to make sure we are well heard when we craft the next international match calendar," he said. "The clubs are the ones that truly invest and take the risks."