The UEFA Champions League is perhaps the second most popular footballing tournament in the world after the FIFA World Cup and right now, this premier European competition depends on the various domestic league to determine the teams eligible to play in the tournament.
But if UEFA have their way all this can change by the year 2024.
The UEFA have been planning a major restructuring of the Champions League – one which will see a 32-team tournament featuring promotions and relegations to and from the Europa League.
As per Marca, the format will be the following:
– The first phase will consist of 32 teams divided into four groups of eight teams each (14 matchdays).
– The first four teams of each group will qualify for the round of 16.
– The bottom team of each group will be relegated to the Europa League for the following season.
– The sixth and seventh of each group will play to avoid relegation to the Europa League for the next campaign.
Marca also states the new plan will be presented at a meeting in August in Monaco, while LaLiga Santander and the Premier League are strongly opposed to it.
But this new proposed format has been opposed by almost every domestic league in Europe and they have urged UEFA to get back to the drawing board once again.
The Premier League released a statement saying:
“The Premier League and our clubs today unanimously reaffirmed our strong opposition to the proposed reform of UEFA club competitions from 2024, which would alter the structure, calendar and competitiveness of league football.
“We believe the proposals – particularly the suggested format and qualification criteria – would be detrimental to domestic leagues across the continent.
“There was unanimous agreement that the domestic game should continue to be the priority for professional clubs, and any changes to the football calendar must respect the requirements of domestic competitions.
“Critically, qualification for the Champions League and the Europa League must continue to depend on current domestic performance.”
Lazio president Claudio Lotito said: “We have to stop the current plans and we have to sit with all stakeholders and start the whole project from scratch.”
If this new restructuring of the Champions League comes into effect then the Champions League will surely become the playing ground for the so-called big clubs in Europe and smaller ones like Rangers and Celtic might never be able to play in the top tier.
This new format will also disrupt the domestic leagues’ schedules which is something that no country will be happy about.