Maguire blasts 'vain' inherited billionaire in outspoken Leeds tirade

Andrea Agnelli has “no interest in football” and is determined to keep clubs like Leeds United out of the top floor of the European game. 

That is according to finance expert and Football Insider columnist Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively after a major breakthrough in Uefa’s plans to move towards a new model of the Champions League.

The Financial Times reports that Uefa and the European Clubs Association are in advanced talks over sharing media and sponsorship rights.

The European Clubs Association is fronted by Agnelli, chairman of Juventus and driving force behind expanded European competition.

Quoted in the Daily Mail, Leeds CEO Angus Kinnear labelled an Agnelli-backed 36-team Swiss system Champions League as “shamelessly engineered to perpetuate the inclusion of clubs who have long-term European success.”

Maguire echoed Kinnear’s sentiments and blasted Agnelli as someone committed to ensuring that teams like Leeds cannot break the financial glass ceiling.

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He told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams: “Self-interest rules at all levels of football. Agnelli is someone who has never watched football on the terraces in his life.

“He is somebody that doesn’t know what it feels like to turn up to be stuffed 5-1 by Huddersfield on Saturday and then turn up on Tuesday still full of hope.

“These comments are what you expect from someone who has grown up as an inherited billionaire. He has no interest in football as a competitive sport. He sees it as a vanity project and his comments reflect that.

“As for Kinnear’s remarks, I’m fully with him and with all the others who have said similar.

“We all have an element of confirmation bias. Why is Kinnear making these comments? Well, because Leeds are an ambitious club and the coefficient aspect is there to stifle ambition.”

An expanded Champions League has been derided by other senior officials of non-big six club, such as Crystal Palace’s Steve Parish and Aston Villa’s Christian Purslow.

The consensus is that Agnelli and others with a vested interest want football to move to a model of autocratic governance and ringfenced wealth.

In other news, Leeds United are very keen on Reading’s Michael Olise and are considering activating the 19-year-old’s release clause.