Gheorghe Hagi – tough criticism against UEFA: We are out of Europe!

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Romanian football legend Gheorghe Hagi is very critical against UEFA, for marginalizing the small teams and for setting obstacles on the way to Champions League.

He said UEFA should be more interested in the small teams, as they will grow only if they have access to money.

“If we do not increase the budget, we’ll live only on hopes. We want to be in the European cups. On UEFA’s door is written ‘fair play’. Is this normal as long as ‘fair play’ is written? The Romanian champions do not compete in the Champions League or Europa League? The coefficient is calculated in order to have rankings for championships, but the first 32 countries in Europe, with 40-year tradition with UEFA, need to qualify directly in the Champions league groups. We should collect EUR 30 million per year, but France and Spain receive EUR 200 million per season! We get nothing. The TV broadcasting rights are sold for each country. Romania pays a large amount, according to the country’s dimension. This coefficient should not eliminate countries from Europe. Romania has a developed football. If I am wrong, let UEFA call me and talk to me. Give us money, as others receive, and you’ll see we can challenge the big teams. We have no more powerful national teams, no more competitive football clubs. Why? The answer is only one: the budgets. Some teams have EUR 500 million, we have remained at the level of EUR 10 million. Everything changed after 1990, before that Steaua and Dinamo were powerful teams! Very powerful, believe me. We have become poorer, the others, with guaranteed positions in Champions League, have become richer! Spain has large audience with Real Madrid and Barcelona, we have audience with our teams. In 1990 we wanted to join Europe and now we are out of Europe. I am talking about sports. We are actually excluded with a pencil. This is not fair-play, although on UEFA’s door this is written. Does the fourth position in Germany sell better than our football? Football is watched in Romania. We need to be in Europe and we’ll get better. Thirty years have passed since the Revolution and the football teams in Eastern Europe are out of Europe, a decision sealed with a pencil. The problem is not only with the East. Ajax did not allow Razvan Marin to play at the U-21 European Championship, because it had the play preliminary qualifying rounds. Ajax needs to play preliminary rounds? Seriously, it’s hard to keep my temper. It’s not Ajax to blame for not letting Marin with the youth national team, UEFA is to blame!” Hagi told ‘Gazeta Sporturilor’.

It is not for the first time when Gheorghe Hagi criticizes UEFA, being dissatisfied by the way the European competitions are organized. He argues all champion teams in Europe should automatically qualify in Champions League and have access to the millions of euros awarded.

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