According to the New York Times, leaked documents show that a ‘concrete plan’ is in place for a semi-closed Champions League format in the coming years.
It would mean a small group of clubs would be favoured, and many others excluded, and a greater divide between the elite and the rest would form. Stories like Ajax and Spurs this season would surely not happen again, or at least would be much more infrequent.
The report claims under the new proposals, the top 24 teams (out of 32) in the tournament would automatically qualify for the next season’s edition – effectively guaranteeing participation for many sides, and the money that comes with that.
From a financial point of view, it would benefit Liverpool, who would almost certainly be one of those guaranteed a spot – but no fan should want the plans to go through.
The changes would mean the champions of leagues in countries like the Netherlands and Portugal would miss out on being a part of Europe’s elite competition, purely because they are smaller sides who tend to attract less revenue.
What hope would that give to those teams? And what reward would there be for those who are effectively guaranteed their place at the top table year on year?
Football is about miracles and stories of the elite being conquered by the unfancied – as we’ve seen time after time, this season alone.
Changing the current format would be disastrous, not just for Liverpool fans, but for football. If the Champions League has proven anything this year, it’s that the knockout stage format, at least, is doing pretty well as it is.