UEFA Call For Discussion On Champions League Format

UEFA have called for a meeting with European stakeholders to discuss the current UEFA Champions League format, said the PA news agency.

In order to negotiate the reform of the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Conference League from 2024, all European domestic leagues will reconvene today.

‘Swiss system’

UEFA will, according to the report, abolish the round-robin format of the Champions League, which frequently leaves qualifying teams with games to spare, in favour of the ‘Swiss system.’

The governing body is considering expanding the tournament from 125 matches to 225, and adding 36 teams instead of 32 in the group stages.

For the last 16, the top eight teams in the table will automatically qualify, and the next 16 teams will face off for the remaining eight places.

An extra place will go to the French league, according to the report, and the remaining spots would be allocated on the basis of UEFA’s ‘coefficient’ rankings and previous historical results, meaning that the Premier League could have up to six clubs participating, stirring debate in the Champions League.

Squeezing in further dates

Lars-Christer Olsson, President of the European Leagues and former UEFA President, said he backed the overhaul in December, explaining: “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 known that the governing body aims, while warding off a breakaway European ‘super league’, to produce higher revenues and boost fan participation in the sport.

‘Super league’

News that a number of Premier League and La Liga clubs had been approached to join a proposed ‘super league’ appeared last year. FIFA warned in January that any player who wishes to participate in a new competition will be disqualified from future World Cup editions.

In the meantime, Concacaf has also announced that the 2023/24 season will reshape the Concacaf Champions League.

The plans would raise the number of matches from 30 to over 140, with four groups of clubs from North America, four groups of clubs from Central America and two groups of clubs from the Caribbean joining the group stage. There will subsequently be a knockout stage of 16 teams and a single-leg final to crown the winner.

Victor Montagliani, president of Concacaf, explained: “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.”