Clubs are not happy with the structure of the most prestigious football competition in the world to such extent that they are going to change it. What will the Champions League look like from 2024? According to the New York Times and Associated Press in Champions League will play fewer teams (24 instead 32). And we will have only four groups. That is already much, but it is not the end of changes yet.
What are the predictions for the new Champions League structure?
Only four groups and a lot of matches on the weekend before noon? That is one of the most likely scenarios of the new Champions League. That solution would come into life in five years. The European Clubs Association is working on far-reaching changes in the games that are increasingly supposed to resemble the European Super League.
That is the beginning of a process. Although, time is needed to analyze and develop the best project – announced the president of ECA and the head of Juventus Andrea Agnelli. We do not know what exactly will change, but one is certain. We will see the Champions League in the shape that has never been seen before.
Matches on Saturday at 12?
One option is to create four groups with eight teams. It would mean that the number of participants will remain unchanged, but the teams that enter the competition will not play six matches, but at least fourteen. It could be an excellent solution for clubs because each game means earnings of several million euros. For the most prominent teams, it will not create as much difference as they play many matches anyway. On the other hand, it can help smaller teams that usually cannot get through the group stage.
Europe’s wealthiest clubs have a clear goal – they want to minimize the risk. Of course, the official version is to increase the level of competition, more matches between the leading teams of Europe, but the truth is widely known. The four-group version is particularly under pressure from the heads of Juve and Paris St.-Germain. That the result of the situation in their home leagues. They do not have almost any competition and have difficulties to impress world-dominating clubs with a much lower budget.
Changes will affect everyone
This most preferred project would change not only the Champions League but also national competitions and even qualification stage. Because in such variant, clubs would need additional dates to play matches. And here ECA is allegedly preparing the whole new concept. They would propose playing games at weekends.
But that is not the end of surprising changes. A new version should produce even more profits. How? By selling broadcasting rights to Asians and organizing matches in the morning, so that people around the world would watch them.
A place for small clubs?
The new Champions League formula will also include a place for weaker and smaller clubs. The management of the European Club Association ensures that “you can always be promoted to new games”, but there will be a challenging road ahead of you.
The plans of European clubs are aimed at creating a classic super league. Champions League reform, no matter how it will eventually look, is moving towards it. It may turn out that soon the Champions League will have nothing to do with the competition, which especially in the current edition brought us so much emotion.
Meetings, travels and discussions
Meetings, travels, conferences and discussions – in connection with the planned reform of the Champions League, recently these are the most popular words among decision-makers of world football. Although the main idea of changes came out in March and had its peak in May, to these days from time to time decisive people come together. Since May five meetings have already taken place in various parts of Europe where possible reforms were being dealt with.
The members of the UEFA Club Competition Committee and representatives of the European Club Association (ECA) – the initiators of radical changes – met at one. The presidents of the national leagues are also fighting for their votes in that matter. Compared to what was a few years ago, this time, they come to the force. Let’s have a look at the most critical changes in Champions League in history.
Admission of runners-up
Since the 1997-98 season, the name Champions League has not been real, because then two teams from the strongest federations got permission to participate. There were 24 teams in the group stage at the time.
Second group stage
From the 1999-2000 season, the teams that qualified for the group stage fought for promotion to … the next group. Fortunately, the system survived only four editions without an extensive knockout phase.
Former UEFA boss Michel Platini wanted to make it easier for smaller federations to rise to the LM, removing clubs from the strongest leagues on their way. This change stopped being in force after 2017.
Many clubs are not happy with the Champions League structure, but new propositions of changes will not help them, though. New ideas are more favourable for the biggest clubs, not the smaller ones.