New Champions League Format

There is a new proposal regarding a new Champions

A Football Report
New Champions League Format

There is a new proposal regarding a new Champions League format and it has been the subject matter of discussion for nearly two years now. As a matter of fact, the executive committee at UEFA is expected to have signed it already, but there was a push back until April.

What is Expected

The new format will see the group phase scrapped off. The number of qualifiers, in this case, will change from 32 to 36, adding in space for some 2 wild-card entries. These wild cards will be specially reserved for the UEFA clubs recording the highest number of co-efficient points (points that rank clubs as per their previous European success) but have not quite qualified for the UEFA Champions League competition given their league position.

If the format was in place at the moment, some clubs such as Liverpool would find their way into the Champions League despite their position in the premier league. The reforms in the UEFA Champions League would be frustrating for English clubs. While there are no hiccups that can’t be overcome, the new format might experience some friction before it is fully embraced.

Some Challenges

What is known for sure is that among the leading clubs, there is a dialogue about corporate governance regarding European Competitions going on all over the place. Additionally, clubs are seemingly aware of the implications of the new format when it comes to matters of external opposition, especially with the wild-card idea, which does not seem so welcome. According to the source from The European Leagues executives have been posing serious opposition to the new format, with a unanimous voice that terms it as a 'De-Facto Closed store'.


However, there are some proposals that have been made by Alex Van Der Sat, the former MAN-U keeper and present Ajax main executive, and the UEFA and European Club Association seem to back it up. The proposal suggests that each team plays 10 games against opponents of varying strength, with the overall league table being formed from the results obtained. The top 8 teams will then move to the knock-out phase with the rest going for the play-offs.

The suggested new format will seemingly be hectic for the English football game, more so the EFL Cup, seeing as the extra features will require those mid-week slots that are usually given out to the secondary cup tournament. Steve Parish, Crystal Palace's chairman, commented that a 36 team UEFA Champions League would cause a 'devastating effect' on the English football game.

What exactly it means for English Football

From the look of things, the new format has a 99% chance of being ratified, which would give officials running English football quite the challenge. To start off, there will be 19 match rounds required, as opposed to the 13 rounds that happen currently. However, there may only be the need for 4 extra mid weeks seeing as the presently used last 16 schedule spreads games in a four-week duration.

If we were to consider a normal English calendar, corona notwithstanding, this would be achieved (between September and Christmas) only by way of using up the dates that have been reserved for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th rounds of the EFL Cup, alongside the mid-week slot that the Premier League usually claims towards the end of November and start of December. In the case where the EFL Cup is preserved, a workable option would be having the 1st 4 rounds being played even before the start of the European tournament group stage. This will see one English club being involved in the European qualifiers.

A second option would be scraping off FA Cup relays while reducing EFL Cup semi-final games to just one game per two ties, creating more space on the game calendar. A 3rd option would be allowing Premier League teams that are also in Europe to choose under-23 teams to participate in the EFL Cup. This could however be met with serious opposition from UEFA, seeing as they claim total primacy during the mid-weeks, especially for TV-related purposes. Furthermore, they find 55 countries, and they would not be looking for an overlap whatsoever. A seemingly nuclear suggestion would be abandoning the EFL Cup altogether, a move that could see football lose a huge money maker.

Rick Parry, EFL's chair, is well aware of this looking challenge, and he was very cautious in embracing the highly controversial infamous 'Project Big Picture' in 2020. The EPL is working on its special strategic review, but ultimately, UEFA's decision will shape all conclusions and the manner in which they get implemented.