UEFA suggests review of Champions League format
Sources have reported that the UEFA has requested a meeting with European stakeholders to go over the current format of the UEFA Champions League. All the European domestic leagues will be gathering today to review the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Conference League from 2024.
According to sources, UEFA is seeking to get rid of the Champions League’s round-robin format, which sometimes leaves qualifying teams with games to spare. This ends up being in favour of the ‘Swiss system’.
The governing body is now discussing whether or not the tournament should be increased form 125 games to 225, as well as introducing 36 teams instead of only 32. If this were to happen, the top eight teams would automatically qualify for the last 16, then the other 16 teams would go head-to-head in a battle for the last 8 places.
The report says that an additional place would be given to the French league and the other spots would be handed out based on UEFA’s ‘coefficient’ rankings and past historic performances, which means that the Premier League could possibly have around six clubs competing in the Champions League, a matter which sparks debate.
European Leagues President and Former UEFA President, Lars-Christer Olsson, expressed his opinion on the discussion and said:
I think it could be possible to squeeze another four dates into the calendar if we can see what kind of effect it is having on national team matches and other things, but it’s too early to say now, it needs to be part of our negotiations.
It is quite clear that the governing body wishes to produce higher revenues and increase fan engagement in the competition, all while still avoiding a breakaway European ‘super league’. In 2020, there were reports that a few of Premier League and La Liga teams were asked to join a new ‘super league’. And last month, FIFA stated that should any players choose to compete in such new competitions, they will be banned from all upcoming World Cup championships.
In the meantime, Concacaf has also revealed that it will be changing the Concacaf Champions League from the 2023/24 season. The number of games is set to be increased from 30 to over 140, with four groups of North American clubs, four groups of Central American clubs and two groups of Caribbean clubs supposedly joining in the group stages. Eventually, there will be a 16-team knockout stage and a single-leg final that will lead to the crowning of the winner.
Concacaf President Victor Montagliani stated:
This is a hugely important development for Concacaf and for club football in our region. The Concacaf Champions League has grown impressively in recent years, but this new format will transform the competition and significantly increase its relevance throughout our confederation and globally.