The Italian has proposed an unprecedented revolution after complaining that there is a lack of competitiveness at football’s elite level
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Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has called for the Champions League and Europa League to be abolished, suggesting a major shake-up is needed to satisfy supporters’ lust for entertainment.
The Champions League has long been the most coveted trophy at club level, with the best clubs across Europe pitted against each other in a group stage and knockout competition.
The Europa League, meanwhile, has acted as the second tier event for teams just below the elite level, with the winner recently having been granted automatic qualification to the next season’s Champions League.
The format has worked efficiently for decades, but Napoli chief De Laurentiis has proposed the idea of replacing both competitions with one 80-team strong super league.
“The Champions League and the Europa League must be abolished,” he told Il Corriere della Sera.
“The Champions League is now for a select few, while the Europa League has become a sort of consolation prize.
“I would like to present them with a single tournament of 80 teams, to which the first seven of the championship standings will enter Italian, French, English, German and Spanish and the first four of the others.
“I would call it the European Cup and the games would be played on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, thus respecting the placement of the national championships over the weekend.”
The 2018-19 Champions League has seen Ajax, Tottenham, Barcelona and Liverpool reach the last four, with plenty of household names suffering early exits.
However, De Laurentiis has not been satisfied by the spectacle, insisting that the same few teams take centre stage above all others every year.
“It’s all very outdated, we are often confronted with sparring partners,” he added. “We play too little and spectacularly.
“To enjoy ourselves we have to watch Manchester City – Tottenham or Barcelona – Liverpool, our football is getting boring.”
Napoli were knocked out of the Champions League during the group stages this time around, after being drawn against Liverpool, Paris Saint Germain and Red Star Belgrade.
Carlo Ancelotti came close to guiding his side into the last 16 and has managed to secure a second-placed Serie A finish for the Italian giants, but many experts have deemed his debut campaign at Stadio San Paolo a failure.
De Laurentiis has rejected criticism of the former AC Milan and Chelsea boss though, insisting Napoli are still among the best sides in Europe.
“I am satisfied with the work of Ancelotti,” he said. “With Ronaldo, Juventus has raised the points, but we are in line with the score of the best European teams”.