By Kealan Hughes

13th Mar, 2021 | 7:30pm

Kinnear claims Leeds fans should be 'outraged' over new UEFA plans

Leeds United chief executive Angus Kinner has hit out at UEFA’s plans to expand the Champions League.

UEFA has not set anything in stone but it is considering the introduction of a 48-team competition from 2024.

Kinnear firmly opposes this but says that Leeds fans should be “outraged” over UEFA’s  plans to favour clubs with European pedigree and ‘elite’ status, as opposed to qualifying through merit.

Kinnear wrote in his programme notes ahead of the Chelsea game, via Adam Pope, “The expansion will undoubtedly cannibalise the value that we can generate from our domestic competition that the rest of Europe eye so enviously.

“But the element that the supporters of the majority of Premier League clubs should be most outraged by is the principle that qualification for Europe will no longer be only based on in-season merit but on a coefficient of clubs’ historic performances in Europe

“This is shamelessly engineered to perpetuate the inclusion of clubs who have long-term European success and whom UEFA deem will have greater commercial value at the expense of emerging clubs.”

European ambition

This goes against everything the competition is supposed to be about.

Teams shouldn’t get a free pass just because they were quite good five years ago.

If they don’t qualify on merit, they shouldn’t be in the competition.

The club has come a long way under Andrea Radrizzani and the Leeds owner aims to qualify for Europe in future.

We look a comfortable Premier League side already so that is a realistic prospect – as long as these changes do not come into play.

Kinnear is right to take a stand against UEFA and we are right behind him. As, we expect, are most football fans who won’t want to see the start of a closed shop in Europe and automatic qualification for the big boys.

There is currently a meritocratic system in place that could allow the likes of West Ham and Leicester to qualify for Europe this season.

That would be brilliant for the English game and allows Leeds to dream big.

To favour Arsenal or Tottenham because they have qualified in recent years would be a slap in the face for teams like ours.

We are three points behind the Gunners this year and could easily finish above them.

The idea they would still qualify for Europe ahead of us is a joke, and that is exactly what UEFA are threatening to bring in.

In other Leeds United news, Tony Cascarino predicts winner in Leeds v Chelsea clash, tips struggling striker to score.