While the Champions League may be the best club competition in the world, UEFA is hoping to spice up the current format.
Some of the biggest clubs on the continent have long called for more games against other European big boys, with some suggesting a closed competition that would guarantee places to the biggest names in the sport. Such suggestions would be a major blow to clubs from lesser nations, and would likely eliminate stories such as that of Ajax this season.
While UEFA’s rumoured changes do not quite go that far, they do seem to be pandering to the continent’s biggest clubs.
While the number of teams in the competition is set to increase, it will now adopt a league format featuring promotion and relegation. Lars-Christer Olsson, Head of the European Leagues, had this to say on the plans: There are ideas about promotion and relegation in the system, it’s a different system from the one we have today. The total picture is there should be more clubs involved, for example, so we have to analyse what effect that is going to have.
A similar proposal was put forward by Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, who suggested the Champions League and Europa League be replaced by a multi-league format featuring promotion and relegation.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin had this to say on the plans: At the moment we have only ideas and opinions. We will use this process to design our competitions to protect and develop European football.
Our aim is to find a solution that reflects the changes in the game, preserves the position of UEFA’s competitions as the most attractive and exciting in the world while providing significant solidarity funding across European football.
The plan would still feature qualification for the tournament via finishing position in domestic leagues, although it is unclear how that would work at the moment.
Such a system would likely make it difficult for smaller clubs to claim the continent’s biggest prize, as it seems it would take them multiple seasons to rise to the top tier. Either way, this certainly seems designed to benefit larger clubs.
It will be interesting to see what kind of reaction such proposals get over the coming months.
Source: UEFA / European Media