European leagues step up threats to UEFA’s Champions League

Valencia's former head coach Nuno Espirito Santo. (Dmitry Lovetsky/AP)

ZURICH — Europe’s top leagues have stepped up threats to schedule matches in direct clashes with UEFA’s Champions League.

The European Professional Football Leagues says it has ended its working agreement with UEFA and set a March 15 deadline to negotiate a new one.

The current co-operation deal ensures European top-tier matches are not played on midweek evenings protected for the Champions League.

European league leaders were angered at being left out of key talks on changing Champions League entries and prize money distribution for the three seasons from 2018.

UEFA and European club leaders shaped an agreement announced in August which squeezed mid-ranking leagues and favoured the big four in Spain, Germany, England and Italy.

The EPFL says only Serie A opposed a decision on Friday to end co-operation with UEFA.

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