UEFA Propose New Champions League Format
uropean football’s governing body, UEFA, is planning to expand the Champions League, in an effort to avoid a breakaway European Super League.
According to the PA news agency, UEFA is hoping to transform the competition from 2024, with domestic leagues and national associations to be briefed on the plans later today.
UEFA is proposing an increase in the number of group stage participants from 32 to 36, with each team to play ten games rather than six.
Currently, England, Spain, Italy, and Germany are all guaranteed four spots in the competition, but teams who do not finish top four in their respective leagues may still qualify under the new system.
Three additional spots are expected to be assigned based on UEFA’s coefficient grading system, which ranks teams based on historical performance.
The remaining spot is likely to be added to France’s two existing guaranteed group stage slots.
By securing entry into the Champions League for major teams, – regardless of their qualification in their domestic league – UEFA is aiming to avoid the creation of a European Super League.
This comes as FIFA threatens to ban players from international competition if they play in a so-called ‘super league’.
UEFA’s proposal is also expected to include an altered group stage format, with the adoption of a ‘Swiss-system’.
Rather than the current eight-group format, all 36 teams would be placed in a single league table, with match-ups determined through pre-season rankings.
The top eight teams would progress to the round of 16, with the last eight spots determined through a playoff series.
Despite concerns regarding increased fixture congestion, European League chairman, Lars-Christer Olsson, spoke in December about his confidence in the new format.
“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,” Olsson said.
The new plans are also expected to boost revenue and commercial figures for UEFA and its clubs, with 180 group-stage games available for broadcast, rather than the existing 96.