Switzerland’s 20 first and second division clubs have unanimously rejected a UEFA proposal that they fear could bar their access to the UEFA Champions League, the latest development in a row which threatens to split European football.

UEFA is working with the European Club Association (ECA), whose members include all of the continent’s biggest clubs, to redesign European competition from 2024, but the Swiss league (SFL) said their plans would have “unacceptable consequences.”

Other leagues such as the Premier League, La Liga and the Bundesliga have also opposed the proposal.

The ECA is due to hold a meeting in Malta next week to discuss the proposal.

UEFA has said talks are still at a preliminary stage but representatives from several European leagues who were present at a meeting with Europan soccer’s governing body this month said they were presented with a concrete proposal.

This involved allowing the top 24 teams in a 32-team Champions League to keep their places for the next season, ending the tradition that qualifying for European competition is achieved via national leagues.

Only four places would be open to the winners of Europe’s 54 national leagues.

 

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