Champions League revamp talks push towards more big club clashes

December 2 – The discussion over the planned revamp of UEFA’s Champions League will continue this week, with a number of restructuring options on the table.

Current favourite amongst those options, according to a Times report, is a move to the ‘Swiss system’ of competition structure that would see 32 or 36 teams grouped in a single league, rather than the current eight groups of four teams.

The proposal is for teams to play 10 matches – five home and five away – based on a random draw that would see clubs seeded by relative strength. All points would be aggregated into a single table.

The top 16 clubs would then qualify for the knock out rounds with the top team playing the team in 16th, second playing 15th and so on. Clubs finishing in 17th to 24th positions would drop into the Europa League knockout rounds.

The advantage of the system is that it would provide more big club match-ups that would come with the obvious increase in commercial value Europe’s biggest clubs are demanding via their on-off threat of their own European Superleague.

The thinking is that the ‘Swiss system’ revamp would keep the ‘group’ stage open until the end, rather than having the current situation where most teams are pretty much guaranteed qualification for the knockout rounds with two group games still to play.

Under the proposed system it would mean at least four more match days required and for clubs already burdened with heavy domestic schedules it could see their withdrawal from some domestic cup competitions – in England the League Cup looks the most vulnerable.

UEFA is committed to a restructuring of the Champions League for the start of the 2024 season and that qualification for the Champions League should come predominantly via the competitive route of domestic competitions rather than criteria based loaded towards historical performance or the economic strength of owners.

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