Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp both savage new Champions League reforms over concerns for players

Written by on April 23, 2021

Pep Guardiola took fresh aim at UEFA for a lack of care over player welfare amid the new Champions League reforms – while Jurgen Klopp has also savaged the controversial changes to the competition.

Manchester City boss Guardiola has been outspoken at governing bodies failing to take on concerns about the fixture crisis engulfing elite clubs.

He backed Ilkay Gundogan’s assertion that the Champions League’s increase to 36 teams and 10 group matches is the ‘lesser of two evils’ compared to the ill-fated European Super League.

City initially signed up for the Super League but Guardiola and the players were in opposition. The Catalan said earlier in the week that UEFA had ‘failed’ the players.

‘The show must go on,’ Guardiola said sarcastically. ‘Of course it will mean more injuries. Every season the same, the players play as they love to play but the injuries come.

‘Every time it’s the same, all of football is asking for better quality and they go for quantity. We are not in charge so we have to ask UEFA and FIFA to extend the year, maybe have 400 days a year and they can find a solution on that.

‘UEFA know it but do they care? Absolutely not. More games and competitions. We are lucky to be in the Champions League, we are going to play it but it’s a lot, honestly. We have not had one midweek off.

It’s crazy. The guys not in Champions League or the Europa League, they play a new competition, so let’s go. It’s a lot. It’s like an actor being in the theatre three times a day. Once a day they like it but three times a day is too much.’

Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Klopp was also quizzed on the reforms and didn’t hold back in explaining its shortcomings.

He said:

‘Everyone knows my opinion on more games. Yes, the Super League is off the table, good, very good.

But it’s not the case that the new Champions League is great. UEFA showed me the idea and I said I don’t like it, 10 games rather than six. No idea where to put them in.’

Klopp went on to add:

‘The football structure at this moment is not prepared for more games.’

More to follow.

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