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Champions League 2024: New format with 10-match first phase set to be agreed

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Bayern Munich celebrateBayern Munich beat Paris St-Germain to win their sixth Champions League title in 2020

A new Champions League format, featuring a 10-match first phase from 2024, is expected to be agreed by Uefa on Wednesday.

The proposal, which has been under discussion for almost two years, will be finalised on Tuesday and then signed off by Uefa's executive committee.

Under the new format, the current group phase will be scrapped.

In its place, the number of qualifiers will be expanded from 32 to 36, with space for two 'wild card' entries.

The wild cards will be reserved for clubs with the highest Uefa co-efficient – points used to rank clubs based on past European success – who have not qualified for the competition through their league position.

If the format was being used now, based on the current table it would mean Liverpool would gain a Champions League spot despite being seventh in the Premier League.

Reformed tournament would be 'devastating' for English clubs

There has been opposition to the plans, in particular from the European Leagues organisation, who said it would create a "de facto closed shop".

However, Uefa officials and representatives from the European Club Association have backed the new arrangement, which former Manchester United keeper and current Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar is credited with suggesting.

Under the new format, each team will play 10 matches against opponents varying in strength, with the results forming an overall league table.

Those in the highest eight positions will move on to the knockout phase, with those from ninth to 24th going into a play-off round.

The new format will cause a problem for the English game and in particular the EFL Cup as the additional fixtures will need the mid-week slots usually allocated to the secondary cup competition.

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish previously said the 36-team Champions League would have "a devastating effect" on the English game.

What could it mean for English football? – analysis

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It is 99% certain these proposals will be ratified, which will give those responsible for running English football a problem.

Firstly, the new format will require 19 match rounds, rather than the current 13, although as the current last-16 schedule has games spread across four weeks, only four additional midweeks may be required.

In a non-coronavirus affected English calendar, the only way of achieving that between the beginning of September and Christmas is to use the dates reserved for the third, fourth and fifth rounds of the EFL Cup, and the midweek slot the Premier League claims around the end of November and beginning of December.

If the EFL Cup is to be preserved, one option would be to follow the example of this season, when the first four rounds were played before the group stage of European competition began – in a 'normal' year, that would be August.

However, at least one English club will be involved in European qualifiers, which this season led to Tottenham having to play on Tuesday and Thursday in the same week, which Jose Mourinho was furious about.

Another option would be to scrap FA Cup replays and reduce the EFL Cup semi-finals to one game for each of the two ties to create space in the calendar.

A third would be to allow Premier League teams also in Europe to select under-23 teams for the EFL Cup, although even that could be met with opposition from Uefa, who claim primacy over midweeks for television purposes – and have 55 countries to fund with their broadcast contracts – and would not want any overlap.

The nuclear option would be to abandon the EFL Cup completely, an argument which has been made by some for a while now.

But that would rob the Football League of its greatest money maker, generating cash which is distributed across all three of its leagues.

EFL chairman Rick Parry has been aware of this looming problem for a while now, which is why he was so keen to embrace the controversial Project Big Picture proposals last year.

The Premier League are working on their own strategic review now – but Uefa's impending decision will frame the conclusions and how they are implemented.

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Comment posted by leicestershrew, today at 11:55leicestershrew

11:55Old boys club looking after the old boys.

The fact that Liverpool would be guaranteed CL football for next year for potentially finishing 7th tells you everything.

Taking away lucrative FA Cup replays for smaller clubs would be the end of the game in this country.2079T

Reply posted by TheMiller, today at 12:11TheMiller

12:11to leicestershrew"Old boys club looking after the old boys.The fact that Liverpool would be guaranteed CL football for next year for potentially finishing 7th tells you everything.Taking away lucrative FA Cup replays for smaller clubs would be the end of the game in this country."TheMiller replied: Like FFP, all you need to know about whether you’re in favour or not is which teams are supporting it. If it’s Madrid, Barca, Juve, Liverpool, Man U, Arsenal – and these things always are – you can bet your money that the aim is to pull up the drawbridge. Best bit for me is that I don’t have BT and I’ll be cancelling Sky shortly. Being an EFL supporter means I don’t need to care about this…863More replies (16)downT

Comment posted by Tim, today at 12:00Tim

12:00Absolutely against this. Even as a fan of a club who fairly regularly qualifies for the Champions League, we should all be there on merit. Not past performances or how big a club you’re perceived to be.1692K

Reply posted by KingFreddy, today at 12:03KingFreddy

12:03to Tim"Absolutely against this. Even as a fan of a club who fairly regularly qualifies for the Champions League, we should all be there on merit. Not past performances or how big a club you’re perceived to be."KingFreddy replied: Amen. This is designed purely for money. Greedy see you next Tuesdays is what UEFA is.671More replies (4)downT

Comment posted by Thou, today at 11:58Thou

11:58″it would mean Liverpool would gain a Champions League spot despite being seventh in the Premier League.”

An absolute joke. Money has ruined the sport.1652Z

Reply posted by zuf, today at 12:08zuf

12:08to Thou"”it would mean Liverpool would gain a Champions League spot despite being seventh in the Premier League.”An absolute joke. Money has ruined the sport."zuf replied: The biggest team in England should always have a seat at the top table.11194More replies (21)downP

Comment posted by Pendants Corner, today at 11:58Pendants Corner

11:58Urgh… Congratulations for coming up with something that fully encapsulates the pure greed and bone-headedness of those that run football in one single move.

Struggling to know where to start on why this is such a bad move for football and its fans…1061T

Comment posted by thetrees, today at 11:58thetrees

11:58Cut the clubs that want this loose and kick them out of domestic football. The lights will still burn bright without them870L

Reply posted by liverpool supporter right here, today at 12:39liverpool supporter right here

12:39to thetrees"Cut the clubs that want this loose and kick them out of domestic football. The lights will still burn bright without them"liverpool supporter right here replied: You reckon. I’m not that confident. It could be the end of football in this country if that happened326More replies (1)downG

Comment posted by Geraint, today at 11:56Geraint

11:56another way for the so called big clubs like Liverpool to get a back door pass total bollocks895P

Reply posted by pato, today at 12:01pato

12:01to Geraint"another way for the so called big clubs like Liverpool to get a back door pass total bollocks"pato replied: That’s IF it was implemented this year AND if Liverpool was to not get either top four in the league or win this years Champions League. Calm yourself little one.1168More replies (12)downG

Comment posted by GS, today at 11:59GS

11:59Scrap the places for historic performance – it only provides a safety net for underperforming so called ‘big’ teams.

Then maybe scrap the whole jamboree and revert to a knockout competition for the league champions (only).762H

Reply posted by Honest discussion, today at 12:28Honest discussion

12:28to GS"Scrap the places for historic performance – it only provides a safety net for underperforming so called ‘big’ teams. Then maybe scrap the whole jamboree and revert to a knockout competition for the league champions (only)."Honest discussion replied: The CL is undeniably a better competition now than as a knock out between champs only.

The problem is they don’t know when to stop. This move could kill the drama of the groups. No one likes big groups. Cite: international qualifiers. The Wild card thing is laughable.1721More replies (6)downE

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Comment posted by evernut, today at 11:55evernut

11:55The glass ceiling has just become a reinforcement concrete one.670L

Reply posted by LAMPO57, today at 13:14LAMPO57

13:14to evernut"The glass ceiling has just become a reinforcement concrete one."LAMPO57 replied: Only if we let it .20T

Comment posted by The Muffin Man, today at 11:58The Muffin Man

11:58As if the Champions League needed more games, a sure fire way to keep the minnows out of the knockout stages.

The 32 teams should simply play knockout football until there is a winner, it would be far more exciting and we may actually see a change in the status quo.

Standard of modern football, money before everything else.501Z

Reply posted by zuf, today at 12:21zuf

12:21to The Muffin Man"As if the Champions League needed more games, a sure fire way to keep the minnows out of the knockout stages. The 32 teams should simply play knockout football until there is a winner, it would be far more exciting and we may actually see a change in the status quo. Standard of modern football, money before everything else."zuf replied: The group stage is the least interesting part of the whole tournament too. Makes no sense to drag that out for even longer.341More replies (2)downJ

Comment posted by Jumparound, today at 11:51Jumparound

11:51$$$ talks.512C

Reply posted by Chikandy, today at 12:49Chikandy

12:49to Jumparound"$$$ talks."Chikandy replied: €€€ talks.70L

Comment posted by liverpool supporter right here, today at 11:59liverpool supporter right here

11:59So a European Super League with Arsenal qualifying for it if they finished seventh instead of having Rangers who won their league. This is no go484H

Reply posted by Honest discussion, today at 12:30Honest discussion

12:30to liverpool supporter right here"So a European Super League with Arsenal qualifying for it if they finished seventh instead of having Rangers who won their league. This is no go"Honest discussion replied: To be fair, their ain’t no setup or system you could devise where Arsenal qualify for the CL!

League position.. no.
Recent success… no.
Record of European success… no.198More replies (2)downY

Comment posted by YorkshireDagger, today at 12:07YorkshireDagger

12:07Support the lower leagues and let the big teams play amongst their selves. Football at the top is corrupt and pretty dull.430S

Comment posted by skjbyrne, today at 12:08skjbyrne

12:08WILDCARDS?! WHAT THE ACTUAL??? You qualify for CL by finishing in the correct places in the league our winning the sodding thing (or EL). This is just a way of keeping clubs who have poor seasons in the competition. Ridiculous.420K

Reply posted by KingFreddy, today at 12:11KingFreddy

12:11to skjbyrne"WILDCARDS?! WHAT THE ACTUAL??? You qualify for CL by finishing in the correct places in the league our winning the sodding thing (or EL). This is just a way of keeping clubs who have poor seasons in the competition. Ridiculous."KingFreddy replied: They aren’t even wildcards. By deffinition a wild card is a player or team in a sport that aren’t neccessarilly going to be a big hitter. Wild card in this sense is just to make big teams feel safe they’ll still get into europe for jo reason other than their name.270A

Comment posted by Ackwern, today at 12:08Ackwern

12:08I honestly think that most football fans who attend games, outside of those supporting the big clubs in England, aren’t that interested in European football. It is a competition for the worldwide armchair fan via TV audiences that is designed to protect the revenue stream of a handful of superclubs of Europe and UEFA in a cosy cartel.410W

Reply posted by WHExpress, today at 12:14WHExpress

12:14to Ackwern"I honestly think that most football fans who attend games, outside of those supporting the big clubs in England, aren’t that interested in European football. It is a competition for the worldwide armchair fan via TV audiences that is designed to protect the revenue stream of a handful of superclubs of Europe and UEFA in a cosy cartel."WHExpress replied: Totally agree. You can predict the result of most games in the CL and EL before they’ve even been played. As a kid I used to watch the group stage games and knockout game religiously as I was football mad. Now I dont bother tuning in until the final stages. Same teams, every year, just dull. Unless West Ham qualify next season, but even then I’ll only watch our games.181L

Comment posted by liverpool supporter right here, today at 11:55liverpool supporter right here

11:55This is going to be a disaster for football in England and around Europe. You might as well create a European Super League instead with all the top clubs competing in it as this is what this new Champions League is in all but name371B

Reply posted by ben, today at 11:58ben

11:58to liverpool supporter right here"This is going to be a disaster for football in England and around Europe. You might as well create a European Super League instead with all the top clubs competing in it as this is what this new Champions League is in all but name"ben replied: It’s coming.80More replies (3)downJ

Comment posted by JuliusCaesarWasASocialist, today at 12:07JuliusCaesarWasASocialist

12:07Joke. Shan’t be watching260W

Comment posted by WHExpress, today at 12:09WHExpress

12:09Presumably this would mean scrapping/increasing the limit on teams from any one league? If not, how can they justify a team finishing 4th in their league but not qualifying based on a team finishing in 7th but having a stronger historical co-efficient.

Football is losing itself to greed.Let them have a European Super League and leave those who still love football not money enjoy it without them.240T

Comment posted by TookOneForTheTeam, today at 11:57TookOneForTheTeam

11:57Just a different way of making sure that the richest clubs qualify each year. An odd suggestion from Van Der Sar considering that you may never see a team like Ajax in a SF again.230H

Reply posted by Honest discussion, today at 12:32Honest discussion

12:32to TookOneForTheTeam"Just a different way of making sure that the richest clubs qualify each year. An odd suggestion from Van Der Sar considering that you may never see a team like Ajax in a SF again."Honest discussion replied: Surely Ajax benefit from this, having recently been in the latter stages of Europe?00More replies (3)downM

Comment posted by Muzza, today at 11:53Muzza

11:53I really think this is just too many games for nothing else than club greed. CL teams will probably have to field B teams in the league and FA cups.220T

Reply posted by TookOneForTheTeam, today at 11:59TookOneForTheTeam

11:59to Muzza"I really think this is just too many games for nothing else than club greed. CL teams will probably have to field B teams in the league and FA cups."TookOneForTheTeam replied: Don’t they do that anyway. Apart from City whose B team is their A team!72M

Comment posted by martin, today at 11:57martin

11:57Greed Greed Greed, nothing else170L

Reply posted by liverpool supporter right here, today at 12:42liverpool supporter right here

12:42to martin"Greed Greed Greed, nothing else"liverpool supporter right here replied: You try telling Gordon Gecko that01More commentsBack to topunknown
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