Europe’s leagues have urged UEFA to scale back its plans to add more Champions League matches in the future, as well as their aim to help teams qualify based on their historical performances in the competition
Europe’s leagues have told UEFA to scale back its plans to add more Champions League matches in the future. They’ve also asked them to continue to prevent teams from qualifying based on their historical performances in the competition. The leagues’ opposition to the changes could have a major impact on Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham depending on who qualifies for the competition next season.
For years Premier League teams have become accustomed to the current qualification model which rewards teams accordingly for their league finish. Generally, first, second, third and fourth are handed an automatic place into a 32-team Champions League-proper but, under a potential new model, that could all change. From 2024/25, UEFA will increase the number of competing sides in the Champions league-proper to 32 to 36.
The competition plans to use the so-called ‘Swiss model’ which involves every team playing in a single league instead of a standard group stage, with a guarantee of at least 10 games apiece. Two of the four new spots up for grabs will be handed to teams with the best historical performance who finished outside the Champions League spots in their domestic league the previous season.
The third to another to the fifth best-performing league in Europe and one to the ‘Champions’ pathway in qualification. This could mean that as many as two extra slots could go to teams from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A or the Bundesliga, or any other European nation.
But these decisions have been challenged by the European Leagues. “An increase of more than 50% of games will hurt the vast majority of clubs and benefit very few,” European Leagues chairman Claus Thomsen said after a meeting in Istanbul, as cited by APnews. “We need to have a lower number of rounds.”
Thomsen continued by explaining that everyone needs to learn a lesson from the European Super League, that lesson being that ‘sporting merit’ should triumph above all else.
“On the whole European Super League issue we saw football in Europe coming together and agreeing on certain things including that it is sporting merit that takes us from one level to the next and we should not have closed tournaments and that we should not move in that direction,” he added. “You could argue it is only two places and now no leapfrogging but you are leaving the basic principle and in the end I trust UEFA will move in that direction as well.”