— Published 10 May 2022

The future of the Champions League under debate

UEFA

This is a decisive week for the future of the Champions League. UEFA is holding its executive committee meeting in Vienna on Tuesday 10 May, followed by its annual congress the next day in the Austrian city. The agenda will be dominated by the proposed reform of the prestigious continental competition from 2024. It has already been agreed that the Champions League will be expanded from 32 to 36 clubs in 2024-2025, and that the current formula of eight pools of four clubs will be replaced by a mini-championship within a single table. The change would allow the number of matches per season to be increased from 125 to 225 at a stroke, thereby increasing ticketing revenue for clubs and advertising revenue for broadcasters. As for the rest, the debate is open and discussions are likely to be tense. In particular, the number of matchdays in the initial phase is still being discussed. The draft prepared by UEFA envisages ten, against ten different opponents (there are six, or three two-legged matches, in the current formula). But the European Leagues Association, which comprises 30 professional leagues, is pushing for an eight-match first phase. There is also some opposition to the allocation of two of the four additional tickets according to the ‘UEFA coefficient’, i.e. past European results. It is too favourable to the big clubs, offering them a chance to participate in the Champions League even after a bad season in the league. Finally, UEFA will discuss this week the idea put forward by its president, Slovenian Aleksander Ceferin, of a Final Four organised in the same city, with the two semi-finals and the final.