By Andrew Warshaw
January 17 – In a hugely significant move that will have major repercussions for domestic leagues, UEFA and the European Clubs’ Association (ECA) are apparently “close to an agreement” to add four more rounds of fixtures to the Champions League each season.
The Times newspaper reports that the proposed expansion, not yet formalised, would start in 2024.
One effect of such a plan would be to finally end speculation over a breakaway super league, increasing Champions League income and appeasing the competition’s biggest teams.
Those competing in the new-look tournament would play four extra matches and although the new format has not been agreed, it will have considerable impact on space in an already congested calendar and especially on domestic football.
Proposals for a radical overhaul of European club football’s flagship competition, bringing in a promotion and relegation system, were shelved last September amid fears of a closed shop. But Andreas Agnelli, president of the ECA, called on major domestic leagues to drop their opposition to the UEFA-backed plans.
The ECA reportedly hoped at one stage to add 10 extra fixtures to the Champions League but it is claimed that they are satisfied by the proposed restructuring which is nevertheless likely to be opposed by the umbrella body representing Europe’s leagues.
Last October, Agnelli clashed with Lars-Christer Olsson, who runs the European Leagues when both appeared at the Leaders in Sports Business Summit in London and presented very different interpretations of how the game should be revamped.
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