European football chief Aleksander Ceferin has warned big-spending clubs that they could be subjected to a “luxury tax” in an effort to level the playing field in the Champions League and Europa League.
Ceferin did not specify how the luxury tax would work, but similar rules in American baseball and basketball see teams effectively fined for exceeding a certain wage bill threshold.
The president of governing body Uefa said squad size limits and more “fair” transfer rules could also be used to dilute the dominance of a handful of continental giants.
“We do have to examine new mechanisms like luxury taxes and in particular sporting criteria like squad limitations and fair transfer rules, to avoid player hoarding and excessive concentration of talent within a few teams,” Ceferin said.
“We do need to assess whether the transfer market as it operates today is the best we can do. We cannot be afraid to touch it.
"We face a threat that the bottom becomes unstable because the rest of the world is focused on the top and our policies must reflect the stance that we value the entire pyramid.”
Big clubs’ dominance of the Champions League is reflected by the fact that only five different teams besides Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona have reached the semi-finals since 2010-11.
Ceferin added: “We cannot allow the greatness of some to overshadow and drown out the least of us.
"If we allow gaps to become too great we will be neglecting those who have little opportunity.
"Uefa has a duty to protect the whole of football and not just the elite and not just within our competitions.”