The Catalan coach believes that fewer teams will lead to an increase in quality – and a decrease in unwanted injuries
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has called for the Premier League to reduce the number of teams involved as a way to improve its overall quality and appeal as talk of a European Super League continues to swirl.
Speculation that Europe’s top sides could form a breakaway league has intensified in recent years, with it suggested that elite clubs would ditch UEFA’s Champions League in favour of a more financially lucrative tournament.
FIFA moved recently to assert that any players taking part in such a competition would be banned from playing in the World Cup.
Guardiola, meanwhile, who is still chasing his first Champions League title with City, believes that retaining the sentimentality and history of domestic competitions – and improving on them – is the most important thing.
“I have a feeling that we can’t lose what local leagues mean, what it means to play in the FA Cup, what it means to play in the league,” the Catalan said ahead of City’s clash with Cheltenham Town on Saturday.
“What we should do is make every league in Europe stronger than what it is, less teams, better championships, better League One, better League Two, better Premier League with less teams in every competition. Go for quality over quantity.
“You have to make a super Premier League [and] for that you have to reduce teams. But we can’t kill lower divisions. That’s something that is so important. It’s not about other benefits, it’s about how important sentimentally it is having your own league for every country.”
Having fewer games to play per season would go some way to reducing injuries and fatigue – things that have become commonplace in recent times due to the effect the coronavirus has had on football’s schedule.
Even without Covid-19, however, Guardiola feels that there are still too many matches being played in a regular season due to the amount of competitions teams are expected to participate in.
“We compete in all the competitions and it is so important to have fit, healthy players – but it is so impossible when they play every three days for 11 months. There are injuries at all clubs and we know it,” the ex-Barcelona boss added.
“We try to avoid it, we have more medical advice than ever, more nutritional advice… we try to take care of the players but they are human beings and at some point the bodies say it is enough.
“With the amount of games and previous competitions in the last five seasons, the players don’t want to get injured but there are injuries. When we demand five substitutions, it is for that reason. Why can we use that in the FA Cup and not the Premier League?
“There are too many games and competitions and the players in the end suffer. The spectators will miss incredible, top players but it is what it is.”