UEFA forced to consider new Champions League plan after first proposal rejected
Earlier this year, UEFA and the European Club Association (ECA) began developing a new format for the UEFA Champions League which would see it become a closed competition, but leagues around the continent have shot the plan down.
ECA and Juventus chairman, Andrea Agnelli, has been the man behind the plan. In the event his plan was approved, 32 clubs would continue to participate in the Champions League group stage, but 24 of them would have a contract with the tournament. In turn, this means that those clubs would be guaranteed to play in the Champions League next season, regardless of where they finish in their respective domestic leagues. There would only be eight open spots for the Champions League group phase.
Agnelli wants 32 teams to participate in the UEFA Europa League and 64 to play in the newly created UEFA Europa League 2. Clubs would have the opportunity to be promoted and relegated from the leagues, but due to the huge financial advantage for the teams which are contracted to play in the Champions League, it would be extremely difficult for anyone to challenge the leading lights.
These changes would be implemented in 2024.
UEFA and the ECA appear to be in agreement, but in recent weeks, representatives of some of the best leagues in Europe have ruined their plan.
Both the English Premier League and the Bundesliga revealed that they are unanimously against the proposed changes: “I am the president of the German league and president of Borussia Dortmund; our league, the Bundesliga, decided 100% that we don’t go this way with the ECA,” said German Football League (DFL) president Reinhard Rauball. “(English FA representative) David Gill thinks in the same way, the German and British leagues are opposing it and I don’t think it is possible we will find a solution without Germany and England.”
“We have to make clear that the national league is most important. If you make a pyramid like the ECA, we would destroy all the clubs and that is what is dangerous,” continued Rauball.
In Spain, all clubs except Real Madrid and Barcelona have voiced their stance against the proposal, and in France only Paris Saint Germain, Olympique Lyonnais, and Marseille said that they would be in favour of these changes. Fifteen Serie A clubs, including the likes of AC Milan, AS Roma, and Fiorentina, are also against the idea.
With the first proposal on the rocks, UEFA is now having to think of a new way forward for 2024. According to reports, the organisation is considering proposing a Champions League format with 40 teams which are separated into five groups of eight. The top two clubs of each group would qualify for the knockout stage.
All possible changes will next be discussed on September 11 in Nyon, Switzerland.