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Lobby Group Launched for Lower-Ranked European Soccer Clubs

European clubs feeling left out of soccer’s politics and marginalized by wealthy Champions League teams launched a new lobby group on Monday.

The Union of European Clubs met in Brussels with about 40 clubs – including six from Spain, five from England and four from Germany – and claiming to complement and not be a rival to the established European Club Association. The ECA has a strong influence with UEFA, including in decisions on how the Champions League is run and distributes money.

“We do feel we aren’t represented anywhere in European football,” Crystal Palace co-owner Steve Parish said.

Access to ECA membership with full voting rights is for clubs which regularly play in UEFA competitions that currently pay about 2.8 billion euros ($3 billion) in total prize money each season to the 96 teams involved.

UEFA and the ECA agree to distribute a few hundreds of millions from overall competition revenues in so-called solidarity payments among the hundreds of clubs who do not qualify.

Some of those clubs, and the domestic leagues they play in, have long raised concerns of widening gaps in wealth and competitive balance.

The UEC aims to change a mindset in which clubs “accept scraps left behind by the elite. Just enough to keep them docile,” said Katarina Pijetlovic, an official with the new group.

Source : AP News