UEFA proposals for more match days and qualifications based on a club’s previous record in a redesigned Champions League are of major concern, according to the representation of national leagues across Europe.
UEFA has presented plans for a new format starting in 2024, with a 36-team league replacing the current group stage, in which each team plays 10 games.
The accommodation of four additional games in the fall will be for many Leagues a challenge, including England where the future of the Carabao Cup would be seriously threatened.
The members of the European Leagues group – consisting of 37 competitions from 30 different countries, including the English Premier League – met on Friday, to discuss the proposals. While they welcomed some aspects of the UEFA plan, they also had some serious concerns.
« The European leagues have expressed strong concerns about more match days in such a flexible system on an already very busy calendar, » the statement said the group.
An increase from the current six to eight games could be considered in the opinion of the leagues.
The mission of the European leagues is to maintain the competitive balance between and within national competitions. The statement indicated that the plans to change the qualification process are somewhat unfortunate.
It is believed that three clubs will qualify based on their UEFA coefficient, which takes into account past performance. This means that European heavyweights such as Manchester United and Real Madrid could still qualify if they missed qualifying the traditional way.
The inclusion of these places in the UEFA proposals is seen as a means to achieve the Counteract the threat posed by a European Super League. However, the group of European leagues expressed concern about the planned changes.
Sources close to the discussions said the four additional seats would be preferred to expand access to national champions from countries that do not automatically qualify rather than giving clubs from the European Big Five leagues additional places.
The statement continues: “(The European Leagues) also identified the possible impact of access and commercial components on sporting and financial balance of the national leagues in question. Finally, they discussed various options for financial redistribution. «
The European leagues said the » Swiss system « was » an improvement on the more radical proposals of 2019 « .
Previous plans championed by Andrea Agnelli, President of the European Club Association (ECA) , have been criticized by the European leagues as being synonymous with a “closed league”, which is at least a step towards consensus.
It is assumed that the qualifications for the last 16 teams will be changed to the eight best Teams in the league with 36 teams automatically reach the knockout stage while the next 16 teams in the table play for the last eight places.
In total there would be 225 games in the competition, compared to 125 now, which is clearly is a problem for the European leagues.
The concern of the European leagues about how « flexible » the Swiss system is reflects the fact that while 10 games are currently proposed, there are more possible which Agnelli found positive last week.
It is assumed that the UEFA proposal does not include anything about how the revenue from the competition in the new look would be distributed at this point in time. League sources believe this is an integral part of the deal.
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