October 25 – UEFA have once again been urged by Europe’s major leagues to decide Champions League qualification on sporting merit alone rather than on historic performance.
A new system from 2024 onwards was announced back in April to stave off the threat of a breakaway Super League, with the Champions League group stage expanding from 32 to 36 teams but played in a single league format. Instead of the current six matches, each team will play a minimum of 10 games against 10 different opponents.
But the European Leagues umbrella body is still concerned about allowing clubs into the competition based on past history rather than up-to-date domestic success.
Jacco Swart, managing director of the European Leagues, says there will be a second phase of negotiations with UEFA. “We do think that changes will be made,” said Swart. “It has been clear, we are not happy on all the topics that have been decided.”
European Leagues chairman Claus Thomsen added: “We (have to) very specifically address that historic coefficients have nothing to do with access or distribution, it must be driven by sporting merit.”
“We need to take care that football is based on domestic competitions, sporting merits, and that we have an exciting competitive balance in all our domestic competitions because that’s what drives us as a culture in Europe and not just commercial enterprise.”
A statement following the body’s annual assembly last week made the same point.
“Sporting merits (from the latest season) are the deciding factor in winning or losing matches and competitions, and thus in participating (or not) in domestic and international competitions. Earn it on the pitch,” the statement said.
“The co-efficient as a tool for qualification or distribution (of revenue) for a future UEFA club competition must be completely dismissed.”
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org