C/League: Uefa to scrape two-legged semi-finals format

UEFA are set to scrap two-legged semi-finals from the Champions League in further restructuring of the tournament’s format.

There are already plans in place to alter the opening stage of the tournament, with the current eight groups of four to be replaced by two leagues of 18 from 2024 onwards. Those no longer seem like the only new additions for the 2024/25 season with The Times reporting that UEFA are considering implementing their “week of football” proposals.

If put into action, those proposals would see the current two-legged semi-finals replaced with single leg ties, played in one city in a five-day window that also includes the final.

Two-legged semi-finals have been a part of the competition’s format since 1955, but the new plans are said to already have the support of the European Club Association.

ECA chairman and Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has spoken positively about the proposals, although some senior UEFA figures are thought to be less keen on such a significant restructuring of the format.

Al-Khelaifi’s support for the plans is said to stem from the Covid-affected 2019-20 season, when the final three rounds of the Champions League were all played in Lisbon.

The “week of football” will replicate the format of the UEFA Nations League and see two semi-finals and the final played across five days in one country.

Just one city is expected to be used for the final four stage, restricting the number of potential hosts, with the chosen city needing to be able to accommodate around 100,000 fans across the five-day event.

The report also states that UEFA hope to ease stress on the football calendar with the “week of football”, with the group stage already due to expand to 10 matches per team from the current six each when the new “Swiss model” format is implemented.

Speaking to The Times in September, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin explained: “If you look at the Super Bowl it’s a great event and they do it in a great way, they have concerts and people go there and have fun.

“Even if you lose those two matches you can get more revenue to compensate. It could be a fantastic event for broadcasters, for sponsors.

The proposed changes would not come into effect until the 2024/25 season, meaning that the 2024 final at Wembley Stadium in London would be the last one under the current set-up.

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