The governing body of European football has abandoned its previous ideas but has unveiled new suggestions to extend the Champions League beginning in 2024.
UEFA has abandoned its contentious suggestions for Champions League qualification but has proposed a new strategy that may potentially benefit Premier League clubs.
The governing body of European football appeared to be on track to adopt new plans to award two clubs berths in the Champions League based on their 10-year coefficient. Proposals had also been made to increase the number of matches in the group stage from six to ten.
The plans were welcomed with scorn across Europe, with many supporters seeing it as analogous to last year’s unsuccessful European Super League in assisting the continent’s biggest teams in ensuring their seats at the top table. On Monday, the European Clubs Association gathered in Madrid to examine suggestions to expand the competition.
Following new talks with the ECA, UEFA has officially confirmed that the “Swiss system” will not be used beginning with the 2024/25 season. A statement also stated that plans to expand the group stage to ten games had been scrapped, with teams now set to play eight.
Despite concerns about fixture congestion, plans to extend the Champions League to 36 clubs will proceed. The four additional places will be distributed as follows: two places will be awarded to the associations with the “best collective performance by their clubs in the previous season,” with each association earning one place for the club with the highest domestic league ranking behind the Champions League positions.
According to the current season, England and the Netherlands would be the two associations given the extra spots. That may have been good news for Manchester United, as it would have meant they only needed to finish fifth to qualify for the Champions League the following season.
The two remaining spaces in the competition will be filled by the club ranked third in the association’s league and fifth in the UEFA national association ranking, as well as another domestic champion, with the so-called “champions path” being expanded from four to five clubs.
“UEFA has clearly demonstrated today that we are fully committed to respecting the fundamental values of sport and defending the key principle of open competitions, with qualification based on sporting merit, fully in line with the values and solidarity-based European sports model,” said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.
“Today’s decisions bring to a close an extensive consultation process in which we heard from fans, players, coaches, national associations, clubs, and leagues, to name a few, in order to find the best solution for the development and success of European football, both domestically and on the international club stage.”