UEFA president, Aleksandr Ceferin has announced plans for a reform for the UEFA Champions League, starting from the 2024/25 season in which teams will face each other in a “Swiss Model” competition.
The competition is set to be expanded from its current 32 team format to cater for 36 teams. From the 36 teams in the competition, the top 8 teams will make it through to the Round of 16 where they will be joined by another 8 teams, and two legged knockouts will commence before the final takes place at a neutral venue as usual.
Each of the teams is guaranteed at least 10 games every season, increasing their revenue from the competition.
Matches in the competition will also be increased to the delight of sports betting fans as UEFA looks to include more clubs in the Champions League.
A historical coefficient will also be implemented, and teams will be permitted to play in the competition based on their past pedigree in the UEFA Champions League.
The reforms announced by UEFA have been widely criticized by fans, with 17 fans’ groups from across 14 different clubs coming together to send an open letter to the chairman of the European Clubs Association, Andrea Agnelli, saying “Your plans to restructure the Champions League by increasing the number of games, introducing qualification based on past achievements, and monopolising commercial rights present a serious threat to the entire game.”
Arsenal and Manchester United fans groups have accused their clubs of blatantly trying to involve themselves in a power grab.
For the new format of the competition, it takes a league format where teams face each other on a seeded basis, and Juventus boss and European Clubs Association chairman, Agnelli has hailed it, saying that it would provide a flexibility for teams and allowed them to initiate more matches, if need be.
EFL chairman Rick Parry has outright condemned the choice of the competition, stating that it put other competitions, such as the Carabao Cup at risk.
English football clubs have also taken offence with the historical coefficient rule, because it would mean a team that finishes below the normal Champions League positions can make it into the UEFA Champions League based on their historical antecedent.
In addition to the announcement of the UEFA Champions League reforms, president Ceferin also bitterly condemned the 12 teams that have agreed to participate in the European Super League, stating that UEFA would do everything within its power to ensure that the teams face punitive action by banning them from their domestic leagues as well as the UEFA Champions League.
Ceferin especially reiterated his disappointment in European Clubs Association chairman, Agnelli, with whom he said he had held a discussion regarding the Super League, and Agnelli had assured him that it was not going to go through.
Ceferin stated that greed and not the COVID economic situation was what fuelled the teams to declare for the European Super League.
UEFA now have a problem on two fronts, as their proposed reforms have been kicked against, and the big boys have moved to the European Super League.
Football is one of the most unpredictable sports, betting against everything eventually happening as planned would be unwise.