With talk of Europe’s elite football clubs ready to leave UEFA and start their own Americanised continental Super League that would see many of the same clubs compete in the competition each year, the Champions League is set for a facelift. The Champions League revamp is set for 2024 and is designed to benefit the clubs more in finances, especially the big teams.
The new format is credited to Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar, the former Manchester United goalkeeper. The changes, if put in place as expected, would radically change the Champions League group stage.
Champions League revamp: What will the competition look like?
The Champions League revamp would see all teams qualifying for the group stage playing 10 matches. Rather than having eight groups of four teams competing in six matches per group as happens now, the new tournament would see 10 matches played by each club in the group stage. The teams will play against opponents of varying quality. The strength of a team’s opponents will be decided on their UEFA rankings.
After playing the 10-match group stage, the teams will be placed in an overall table, and qualification for the knockout stages would be achieved post-Christmas. There is likely to be two-legged playoff series as well to reach the knockout stage, adding more football for clubs.
Thirty-six teams will qualify for the Champions League rather than the current format of 32. It is believed one of the extra four places will go to a club from England or another of the top-tier football leagues in Europe. The problem with the potential Champions League revamp is that it will add additional games to the football calendar. Leagues such as the Premier League and La Liga may need to look into decreasing the number of teams in their domestic leagues from 20 to 18 — like the Bundesliga. Meanwhile, cup competitions such as the League Cup in England could be abolished.