UEFA is reportedly considering a major overhaul of the Champions League format. They are reportedly planning to stage matches in Europe’s most prestigious club competition outside the Blue Continent.
Previously, the Champions League had agreed to make changes to the group stage format starting in 2024 with a higher total number of matches. However, now it seems they want to overhaul the existing format.
1. Relocation of matches
UEFA’s executive committee has met ahead of this week’s general meeting of the European Club Association (ECA). The ECA, which represents clubs in European competition, has met with UEFA to discuss strategies to improve match quality and revenue.
Reported by the Daily Mirror, one of the options that are claimed to be favored by the top brass is relocating Champions League matches outside Europe. They are trying to make important matches like the knockout stages more accessible to fans of big teams around the world.
2. Move important matches in the US, China or Middle East knockout stages
Initially, officials had considered holding group stage matches outside Europe rather than knockout matches. Some fan groups, particularly those based in Europe, will likely find it difficult to accept the idea.
Even so, the idea is still just a discourse. Not only that, the transfer of the holding of the Super Cup outside Europe was also discussed. The United States, China, and the Middle East have the potential to host.
3. High potential approved
Nasser Al-Khelaifi, president of Paris Saint-Germain, is believed to have agreed with the idea. He plays an important role in this as he also serves as the current head of the ECA and a member of the UEFA executive committee.
The ECA has also conducted research on the nature of fans in football. It found that 34 percent of soccer fans in China and 28 percent in the US were motivated to start playing football through major tournaments such as the Champions League. This idea could end up being approved by the ECA and UEFA.
In May, UEFA and the ECA agreed to overhaul the Champions League format from 2024. Instead of 32 teams being divided into eight groups of four each, there will be only one group of 36 clubs. The clubs will play four more games than the current format, with one team facing 10 different teams, half at home and half away.