Recall that in April, UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin approved the new Champions League format which will take effect from the 2024 -2025 season. In the new Champions League format, UEFA has agreed to expand the number of clubs that will participate in the prestigious competition, increased group stage matches from 6 to 10, and introduce historic coefficient as another mode of qualifying for the competition.
The historic coefficient means that a team who didn’t qualify through the regular mode of qualifying for the Champions League like making the top four (in the case of the Premier League), can qualify based on their performance in the previous seasons.
When UEFA made the announcement, the European football governing body made it clear that the provisions in the new Champions League format are still subjected to changes if necessary.
In a virtual meeting involving leagues and clubs in Europe on Thursday, some of the issues in the approved new Champions League format were raised and most of the leagues advocated for a change in some aspects of the format.
They believe that the new Champions League format was approved before the European Super League saga started. And the saga has brought about a new reality which the new Champions League should try to address.
For instance, the president of Spanish La Liga, Javier Tebas believes that the new format is promoting shortcuts to success for bigger clubs who have already made a mark in the competition.
He argued against: the provision for historic coefficient, increasing the group matches from 6 to 10 which he said might affect the broadcast rights of national leagues and described the whole format as being risky.
Hence, he urged UEFA to implement the changes provided in the new Champions League format carefully especially the aspect of increasing the group stage matches from 6 to 10.
“What is really striking for us and what really worries the leagues is that if they go to 10 matches, this cannibalizes the value of the broadcasting rights nationally for each of the different leagues,” he said.
“The best thing would be eight matches. For me, it would be better [to be] six, but we could agree to eight. If we try eight matches and we see that it doesn’t cannibalize the national markets, then maybe we could go up [to 10 matches]…
“I’m totally convinced there will be agreements within UEFA because of the dangers of this Super League ideology that still exists.”
While Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish said: “It’s constitutional change at UEFA [that is required]. We really need to use this gift that we’ve really been given of this terrible idea of a Super League to effect change.
“We must realize that although we’ve won one battle [the Super League] I really don’t believe that yet we have won the war.
“Mr. Ceferin said some nice words but we need to see a fundamental change in governance, and a representation of the whole of the game and not a select group of clubs that he happens to be very close to.”