New Champions League format set to be agreed – Deal almost done

European Clubs Association Chairman Andrea Agnelli said that an agreement on a new-look Champions League structure is close to being made.

Agnelli, who is also Chairman of Italian giants Juventus, has proposed several reforms to UEFA, including a new “Swiss system” format to European football’s biggest competition.

This may involve expanding the tournament to 36 teams instead of 32 from 2024, and an overhaul of the group stage into a single table rather than the current groups of four clubs.

“I think we’re very close to my ideal Champions League, I think the Swiss system is beautiful,” he said.

“I think it will provide great opportunities for those teams participating in that competition. It will provide the knockouts that are the essence of any competition. It’s very, very close to an ideal Champions League. We’re maybe just a couple of weeks away.

“My attention for quite a long time has been to make sure we find a solution with Uefa. We had fights with Alex [Uefa’s president, Alexander Ceferin] in the autumn months because we wanted to find the balance between continental and domestic competition. It’s [about] having a balanced competitive landscape.”

The Swiss system would see each team play ten group games against teams seeded in four different pots. The results would give each team a league standing. The top 16 in that league would progress to the knockout stages.

The details are yet to be finalised, but it is believed that teams positioned from 17th to 24th in the table would drop into the Europa League.

Agnelli also stressed that football must think of ways to attract younger viewers in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

“We could imagine a subscription for the last 15 minutes of a specific game,” he said.

“The attention span of today’s kids and tomorrow’s spenders is completely different to the one I had when I was their age.

“If you take golf, if it’s interesting at all, it’s only the last six holes on the final day. You are not going to watch the whole thing on the TV unless you are a hardcore fan.”

The new format could be introduced for the 2024/25 season at the earliest. It would also put an end to the heavily rumoured European Super League.

 

 

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