UEFA are urged to decide Champions League qualification on sporting merit ALONE as European Leagues body – including the Premier League – calls to ‘completely dismiss’ plans to allow two clubs entry for historic performance
- UEFA cleared changes to the Champions League format from the 2024 onwards
- The new format reserved two qualification spots based on historic performance
- European Leagues has called for qualification to be based on sporting merit
- The changes included a new 36-team league in place of the eight groups of four
European Leagues has called for the ‘complete dismissal’ of plans to grant two clubs qualification for the new-look Champions League based on historic performance.
European football’s governing body UEFA rubber-stamped major changes to the format of the Champions League from the 2024-25 season onwards on April 19, including a new 36-team league replacing the existing eight groups of four.
The announcement of the new format, which was completely overshadowed by the formation of a European Super League hours earlier, also reserved two qualification spots for clubs which had missed out on the Champions League by the conventional route but who had the best co-efficient score.
The Champions League, which Chelsea won this year, is set for a makeover from 2024-25
European Leagues members, including the Premier League, are concerned at the prospect of clubs leapfrogging sides above them in the domestic league table as a result.
European Leagues also remains concerned over the number of extra matches – 100 in total.
It said in a statement on Friday following its General Assembly in Milan: ‘Sporting merits (from the latest season) are the deciding factor in winning or losing matches and competitions, and thus in participating (or not) in domestic and international competitions. Earn it on the pitch.
‘The co-efficient as a tool for qualification or distribution (of revenue) for a future UEFA club competition must be completely dismissed.’
European Leagues managing director Jacco Swart (left) has said UEFA and its president Aleksander Ceferin (right) had promised a ‘second stage in the process’
European Leagues managing director Jacco Swart told reporters UEFA had promised a ‘second stage in the process’ next spring where he hoped the topics his organisation had issues with would be addressed.
European Leagues board member Claus Thomsen also warned about the threat of a Super League coming in another form, possibly an expanded Club World Cup.
‘The Super League is of course not something that’s on the table tomorrow, but it is a trend that everyone should be very aware of, and it will come, and it can come, in other forms and become a de facto Super League.
‘The Club World Cup, if it expanded widely, could become a de facto world Super League.
European Leagues board member Claus Thomsen (above) warned against the threat of the European Super League coming in another form such as the Club World Cup
‘We need to take care that football is based on domestic competitions, sporting merits, and that we have an exciting competitive balance in all our domestic competitions because that’s what drives us as a culture in Europe and not just commercial enterprise.’
The inaugural version of an expanded Club World Cup had been set to be played in China earlier this year, but was indefinitely suspended to enable the rescheduling of Euro 2020 and the Copa America.
FIFA’s chief of global football development, Arsene Wenger, said the possibility of staging the competition would be looked at again once issues surrounding the international match calendar had been resolved.