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Champions League changes a price worth paying


Arsene Wenger thinks that changes to the Champions League that will stop Arsenal and other Premier League clubs receiving as much money as they have in the past from the competition is a price worth paying to stop a breakaway league.

Real Madrid and Juventus are thought to have been the driving forces behind the changes.   As part of China's project to secure a dominant position in world football, a Chinese conglomerate is trying to set up a rival competition.

Arsenal have never won the competition and will lose out when from 2018 part of the money is distributed according to how many titles a club has won.  Of course, that still gives Arsenal time to win the title, but, just as they are always likely to qualify, one can never see them being winners.

But Wenger is sanguine about the changes: 'You don't want it to become like boxing where there are five federations and you don't know any more who is the real world champion.'  He thought that there was a risk that if you had ten Chinese owning ten English clubs, they might decide to make their own league and have a competition in Asia.

There is something ironic about Arsene Wenger claiming that foreign ownership poses a 'real danger' to European football when Arsenal itself has foreign majority shareholders.   But, of course, his point is that Uefa needs to keep control of the situation and prevent a breakaway league forming.