Football Trade Directory

AC Milan Chairman wants Euro wild cards for big clubs

AC Milan director Umberto Gandini believes Champions League wildcards should be introduced to ensure some of Europe's biggest clubs do not miss out.

Currently, the Premier League top three qualify automatically, with the side in fourth entering the play-off round.

In Italy, the top two go straight into the Champions League, with third going into the play-offs.

"I think we have to look at ways of improving the Champions League," Gandini told BBC World Service.

"I would like to see opportunities for wildcards or different routes for clubs who have the ability, the prestige or the size to compete in the Champions League."

However Uefa general secretary Gianni Infantino said this week that wildcards would never happen.

Manchester United win Champions League in 2008 Manchester United, who last won the Champions League in 2008, failed to qualify for this season's competition

Manchester United and AC Milan, past winners of the Champions League, are not competing in this season's competition after finishing seventh and eighth in their respective leagues.

"Look at Italy for example, every year you have two teams qualifying directly and one to the play-offs, but you have Juventus, Milan, Inter, Roma, Napoli, Fiorentina and Lazio trying to play for the top three spots," Gandini said.

"In England now you have Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool trying to qualify for the top four.

"Every year one two or three miss out and either play in the Europa League or have to go without European football."

Gandini said that revenue from European football is too important for clubs, adding: "Today we play a competition with 32 clubs, every season you have a fantastic run by underdogs who, say, get to the quarter finals. This is good for football.

"On the other hand there are more and more important clubs - important because of history and size - that miss out."

A more likely change is automatic qualification for the Champions league for the Europa League winners to give that competition a lift and give clubs a life-line who fail to make it through the groups or miss out in their respective leagues.



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