European football governing body is working at breakneck speed to agree on a new format for its highly lucrative flagship competition after being ‘spooked’ by the re-emergence of the European Super League proposals, last month.
According to Sportsmail, UEFA had originally hoped to agree on the new version of the competition with more teams and an amended structure towards the end of the season.
However, after reviewing the super league plan, officials thought UEFA’s Executive Committee should sign off the new Champions League format as early as Friday next week.
That now looks less likely after the European Leagues, a representative body that includes the Premier League, challenged key parts of the proposals, but UEFA remains determined to press on and sources say they want to gain agreement this month.
It put forward plans to expand the Champions League from 32 to 36 teams and revise the structure with an increase in group stage matches from six to 10, beginning in the autumn of 2024.
The new format would use the so-called ‘Swiss model’, popular in chess, in which clubs are all in one division and drawn against ten other teams based on seeding, before going through to the knock-out stage.
The aim is to increase the revenue, overhaul a stale format making it more attractive to broadcasters and generate more games between the continent’s top clubs.
Manchester United, Real Madrid, and AC Milan are the driving forces behind the plans for a European Super League, to replace UEFA’s Champions League, according to The Times.
An 18-page proposal includes details of the proposed league, which includes plans for the format, membership, prize money and even financial fair play rules.
The current proposal is for the league to have 15 permanent founder members, who would receive greater financial reward and five annual qualifiers.
The league would be divided into two groups of 10. The top four in each group would compete in quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final, which would be held at a weekend.
Participating teams would play between 18 and 23 matches a season, as well as competing in their domestic leagues.
It is believed the plan would be for six clubs to be included as founder members from England — this could be the Big Six of Liverpool, the two Manchester City, and United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur — plus three from Spain, three from Italy, two from Germany and one from France.