UEFA Champions League expansion could be a thing from the 2024-25 season.
[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]
A report from The Telegraph states that UEFA want to expand the competition from 32 teams to 36, as they will increase the number of group games for each team from six to 10.
Meetings will be held in the coming weeks on how to structure European club competitions for three seasons from 2024-25, (a decision could come in 2021) with UEFA also ready to discuss bringing back the ‘final eight’ tournament used to end the 2019-20 Champions League and Europa League competitions.
Here is more info from the report on possible Champions League expansion:
“It is understood to be gaining support among clubs from across the European game, including from some of its biggest leagues. Expansion plans had been floated earlier this year to an initially lukewarm response but they have gained traction, as they are seen as a way to balance the demands of Europe’s major clubs – including in England – for more marquee fixtures with calls from mid-sized leagues in Europe for extra Champions League berths.”
“There are understood to be two models for a 36-team Champions League, each involving 10 group matches per team. Under the first model, sides would be divided into six groups of six and play each other home and away. Under the second option, the 36 clubs would each play 10 fixtures against 10 different opponents, with fixtures decided by a seeding system designed to ensure equitable fixture lists for each side, similar to the ‘Swiss-system’ structure used in US sports leagues.”
The report goes on to state that the ‘Swiss-system’ plan is favored by most teams, as it means there will be more games between the big boys in the group stage and therefore create more excitement.
However, the idea of having six teams in each group and five home games and five games away seems the fairest way of expanding the tournament, as teams from mid-sized European nations have complained about how tough it is to qualify for the tournament, let alone compete.
Some of the greatest moments in Champions League history have happened due to underdogs beating a European giant, and there will still be enough battles between big boys in the group stage if each group is expanded to six teams.
UEFA are looking at being more creative and in the current landscape there is certainly plenty of thinking ‘outside of the box’ going on.