BARCELONA - Barcelona would like to see an
expanded European Champions League and have proposed reducing
the number of clubs in top domestic divisions to free up time
for more continental matches.
Javier Faus, a vice president of the La Liga champions, told
Reuters it was unlikely Barca, or their great Spanish rivals
Real Madrid, would ever quit domestic competition entirely.
"What would be very interesting for us however is over the
next 10 years creating smaller domestic leagues and a larger
Champions League," Faus, who is responsible for economic affairs
at the Catalan club, said in an interview at Nou Camp stadium.
La Liga, which currently has 20 teams, could be shrunk to 18
or even 16 clubs, he added.
The current Champions League format involves 32 teams, split
into eight sections of four in the group stage, followed by the
Expanding the competition would provide a means of boosting
revenue from matchday receipts and television rights and could
help clubs comply with new UEFA rules designed to prevent them
spending more than they earn.
Barca, which is owned by its members, were the second
richest European club by revenue in the 2009-10 season,
according to Deloitte's latest ranking published last week.
They reaped 398 million euros, up from 366
the previous campaign and placing them behind top earner Real
Madrid for a second consecutive year.
Faus said Barca would have no difficulty in complying with
UEFA's new Financial Fair Play regulations, which will take
effect from June 1 this year, and the club fully supported their
Although Barca was set to post a net loss of around 20
million euros this season that was primarily because of the deal
that took out-of favour striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic to AC Milan
and cost the club around 40 million, he added.
Barca were expecting a profit of some 40 million euros per
campaign from next season, he said.
UEFA's new rules were unlikely to bring down the huge
salaries paid to top players, Faus said.
However, he predicted some of Europe's biggest spending
clubs, including Barca, Real, Manchester City and Chelsea, would
likely be forced to limit spending on squad members.
Faus serves under club president Sandro Rosell, who took
over from Joan Laporta at the end of last season.
The club was aiming over the next five years to increase
revenue to as much as 550 million euros per season and cut net
debt to 200 million from the current 400 million, Faus said.
Another priority will be to implement a cheaper renovation
of the 50-year-old Nou Camp arena now that a 300 million-euro
project mooted under the previous presidency has been deemed too
expensive in the current economic climate, he added.
The area around the stadium would also be redeveloped and
the club's basketball arena enlarged.
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