UEFA mulling controversial concept for Champions League: Details here
European football's governing body UEFA has been bringing in interesting concepts to make the game even more absorbing. While the body looks to make the route for clubs from smaller countries relatively easier, the recent proposal has created an uproar. As per the proposal, the UEFA is mulling over introducing the concept of promotion and relegation in the Champions League. Here are the details.
Here's what the UEFA has proposed
The UEFA has included promotion and relegation, along with places for more teams, in its vision for the Champions League and other club competitions. European Leagues President Lars-Christer Olsson said that the UEFA proposed the ideas in a meeting on Wednesday. This was a feature of the year-long talks about changing competition formats and prize money distribution models which would be effective from 2024.
What has the UEFA stated?
"Our aim is to find a solution that reflects the changes in the game, preserves the position of UEFA's competitions as the most attractive and exciting in the world, while providing significant solidarity funding across European football," UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said.
What's in store from 2021?
Starting in September 2021 until 2024, there will be 32 teams in the group stages of each of the Champions League, Europa League and a new third-tier competition. Meanwhile, the round-robin groups will have four teams each playing six games. The leagues have pushed for a fairer distribution of more than $2 billion in annual UCL prize money to close the gaps between clubs.
How things could change from 2024 onwards?
The revamped tournament, from 2024, will see four groups of eight teams. Also, the top five teams in each group will automatically qualify for the next edition. This will effectively make it harder for clubs from smaller countries to play in. If things are put into action, then it would significantly favour the big clubs. Further, the matches won't be played on weekends.
ECA's proposal for pan-European league system the issue
Change to European club tournaments has grabbed headlines especially after Andrea Agnelli, the president of the European Club Association (ECA), outlined proposals for a "pan-European league system". This system will greatly reduce the number of teams qualifying from domestic competitions.
'Future changes should be subject to consultation'
"When Champions League was last changed in 2016, UEFA was criticized for not holding discussions with its stakeholders. When I became president shortly afterward, I insisted that any future changes should be subject to consultation and today's meeting is further evidence of that," quoted Ceferin.
Changes in qualifying for the UCL this season was harsh
The UEFA has already been criticized for changing the qualifying criteria for UCL. The top four sides from each of the continent's big four leagues gained automatic qualification for this season's group stage. Meanwhile, teams like Ajax were hit hardest by the changes. They had to come through three qualifying rounds in order to make the group stage earlier this season.
UEFA should consider expanding UCL, not diminish it
As the above proposal does sound weird and unfair, the author too expresses his displeasure on the same. While top teams usually thrive in the tournament, smaller clubs too put up sturdy displays and are normally known as giant killers. Thus, limiting their chances will do no good to the tournament, as it would would eventually lose its credibility.