A popular saying goes, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” Well, looks like UEFA missed the note. UEFA is back with its latest ‘updates’ on the Champions League format from 2024 onwards. Regardless of the fact that no one has asked for it or is unsure of what to expect, UEFA continues to work.
👥 36 teams.
📊 1 league instead of groups.
📈 Top 8 reach the knockout.
✅ Each club is guaranteed 10 matches.
💭 thoughts? pic.twitter.com/mpkRKODn53
– SPORF (Sporf) April 19, 2021
Just over a year after the collapse of the European Premier League, these new rules mildly evoke the memory of that ill-fated plan. There has been a lot of turmoil over the so-called “Swiss model” as UEFA decides its next step. Suffice it to say, the whole affair is not going away anytime soon or quietly.
More matches, more problems?
The proposed plan has many layers. The first and most important thing is to increase the number of matches. Currently, there are 125 matches in a single season of the UEFA Champions League. UEFA is proposing to expand the competition from 32 to 36 teams. Furthermore, each team will play 10 group stage matches against opponents based on the UEFA coefficient. At the end of it all, the top 16 teams will advance to the next round.
Media reports suggest that the Champions League expansion will bring in an additional 40% revenue in television and commercial rights. Based on 2020/21, this should increase the income of the finalists, #CFC And #MCFC, from about £107m to just under £150m. Once again widening the gap to others. pic.twitter.com/NBTjuKl3Uh
– Swiss Ramble (SwissRamble) May 2, 2022
Here, the top eight teams will advance directly to the Round of 16, while the next eight teams will struggle to join them. However, teams are concerned about the impact on domestic matches. The possibility of playing the Champions League matches this weekend will be fantastic. Clubs are trying to reduce the number of matches to eight per team, for a total of 189.
UEFA is said to be planning to reform the Champions League starting in 2024.
How many games are too many games? pic.twitter.com/KF3xz73eU8
– DW Sports (@dw_sports) February 9, 2021
If UEFA gets its way, there will be 225 Champions League matches per season, which will clash with local ties. Moreover, broadcasters will not feel motivated to pay large sums for media rights as they have to show every match.
The Premier League may be dead at the moment but not everyone has given up hope
Fourth Festival Final
The coronavirus pandemic has forced organizers to get creative to end the football season. UEFA has organized the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final matches in Porto for over a week, with only one match for the previous two matches. This plan is set to return. UEFA is in intense discussions over the ‘last four’ format for the final stages of the UEFA Champions League.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said a Champions League “four-finals” format might be on the way: “We haven’t discussed this properly yet because of the pandemic.
But I think it would be great.
It should be more competitive and more interesting to the masses.” [JDD] pic.twitter.com/CmN9LpRAtY
Bayern and Germany (@iMiaSanMia) February 6 2022
Therefore, there will be no semi-final home and away matches while all three matches will take place in one city over the course of a week. The European Football Association (UEFA) is trying to hold a football festival with celebrations and live performances.
Why the fuss?
So far, reasonably good. Premier League clubs have spoken to UEFA about the 10-match group stage, which will further crowd out the fixture list. If that were reduced to eight, that would still make sense.
However, the most divisive point of this exercise was surrounding the original expansion. Two of the four teams will qualify based on previous Champions League successes, the “historic coefficient”, if they miss automatic qualification.
🚨 | Moreover, for example, if a team like West Ham ends up in fifth place in the Premier League, and Manchester United ends up in sixth place, then West Ham would qualify for the Europa League and Manchester United would qualify for #UCL.
– District of Madrid (theMadridZone) April 21, 2021
This is where the problem begins. Critics rightly pointed out that booking two places for teams in this way would strengthen the grip of the Premier League, which already has four clubs.
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Manchester United and Arsenal are the two best clubs to take advantage of this rule change. These teams were regulars in their heyday but have struggled ever since.
With only three matches remaining, #Manchester United Three and five points behind Tottenham and Arsenal, respectively.
– AS USA (English_AS) April 30, 2022
Therefore, adopting this change will differentiate the chances of other teams due based on the season’s performance. Moreover, there is also concern that the influx of major teams without due will resonate with the European Premier League.
There has certainly been no discussion of creating a separate chassis, but that kind of reservation seems a little bit down on the nose.
Needless to say, any changes to the current system will have strong backlash. There have been reports that UEFA is planning to scrap the idea of ”historic sidewalks”.
The commotion it made was tangible. However, it looks like the rest of the plan is ready to roll. The financial matters of the game have taken over almost every aspect.
There is growing confidence that UEFA will be persuaded to abandon plans to award two Champions League spots based on historical performance from 2024 with fears that this could lead to six Premier League clubs regularly participating in the competition.
– iambolar April 30, 2022
Therefore, it is not surprising that UEFA has taken small steps to increase revenue for the game. There is little concern for player well-being, or the fact that a 100 match increase would have a disastrous effect on teams.
No doubt there will be strong opinions from most of the football community, but as it stands, there is very little attention being given to them.