No challenge to UEFA Champions League reforms
UEFA’s proposals for a ‘Swiss-style’ Champions League from 2024 were not challenged by a single association during a meeting on Tuesday.All 55 member associations held a two-hour conference call, chaired by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, and received an update on plans to increase the number of clubs taking part in the competition from 32 to 36.
Sky Sports News has been told talks were ‘very positive’ but a decision will not be made until an executive meeting involving European football’s most senior administrators, most likely in April.UEFA is hoping the new format, which will guarantee clubs more games and more revenue, will avert the threat of a breakaway European Super League.Each team would be guaranteed at least 10 games against different opponents and the current group stages would be replaced by a single league based on the so-called ‘Swiss model’.
The total number of games in the competition would increase from 125 to 225.
Associations also received an update on this summer’s delayed European Championships, and UEFA reaffirmed its intention to keep games at all 12 host cities subject to an ongoing review of the coronavirus pandemic.
What do the new proposals mean in terms of qualification?Under the new proposals, it is understood three clubs will qualify based on their UEFA co-efficient which looks at past performance, meaning European heavyweights such as Manchester United and Real Madrid could still qualify even if they missed out on qualification via the conventional route.It is believed qualification for the last 16 would be changed so that the top eight teams in the 36-team league would automatically reach the knockout phase, while the next 16 teams in the table would play off for the final eight places.Altogether there would be 225 matches in the competition compared to 125 now.
Real Madrid could still qualify base on their UEFA co-efficient were they to miss out through La Liga
‘Safety net would create closed league’Offering clubs a qualifying place based on past performance in a new-look Champions League format would create a “de facto closed league”, according to European Leagues president Lars-Christer Olsson.Olsson, a former UEFA chief executive, told The Times: “For me, it’s a principle that the historic co-efficient should not be part of an international competition at all. We will have a de facto closed Champions League.”UEFA’s proposals could mean as many as six teams qualifying from a single league, such as the Premier League, in future.In addition to the three extra co-efficient places, France is understood to be being offered a fourth automatic position in an expanded 36-team group phase.