In a shocking move, as reported by Spanish outlet Marca, the Champions League may be restructured by 2024 and it’d leave it unrecognisable to the tournament we know today.
It has been reported that a number of the top leagues, including the Premier League and La Liga, strongly oppose the suggestion, with only Barcelona and Real Madrid – two Spanish clubs out of nine European Club Association members – in favour.
The new format would consist of 32 teams being divided into four groups of eight. That’d mean 14 fixtures at the group stage round.
The top four of each group would go into the last sixteen of the Champions League; but it’s unclear what would happen to the bottom four with suggestions of a play-off system being employed.
This isn’t going to go down well with anyone not at the pinnacle of the footballing pyramid as it may be perceived that the elite are trying to keep the best competitions to themselves.
The Premier League released a statement on Wednesday after its annual general meeting and reiterated their objection to the plans.
“The Premier League and our clubs today unanimously reaffirmed our strong opposition to the proposed reform of UEFA club competitions from 2024, which would alter the structure, calendar and competitiveness of league football,” it said.
“We believe the proposals – particularly the suggested format and qualification criteria – would be detrimental to domestic leagues across the continent.
“There was unanimous agreement that the domestic game should continue to be the priority for professional clubs, and any changes to the football calendar must respect the requirements of domestic competitions.
“Critically, qualification for the Champions League and the Europa League must continue to depend on current domestic performance.”
With a Champions League that’s played out over a longer group stage, it would remove some of that ‘magic of the cup’ that we often hear about as freak results won’t meant much in the long haul.