Faced with the threat of a European Super League organized outside of UEFA, this body is working on a remodeling of the Champions League for 2024. The objective is to satisfy the economic ambitions of the big clubs that seek to break with the established system in search of higher earnings. At the beginning of this week, the organization that governs European football met at its headquarters in Nyon (Switzerland) with representatives of the Association of European Leagues to present the new project that seeks to impose itself on the model of independent and almost closed competition by which Clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Juventus advocate. In this disruptive model with the system, there would be several clubs that would not go down in the first editions in order to guarantee stability and profitability with potential investors and telemarketers. That would not mean that the clubs that are members of this new competition will stop participating in their respective national leagues.
Faced with this revolutionary project, the new format of the Champions League with which the UEFA counterprogram would consist of expanding the number of participants from 32 to 36 and dividing them into six groups of six teams, for the four that now comprise them. After the round trip, the first two of each group and the four best third parties would go to the round of 16. This newspaper contacted UEFA on Friday to confirm whether this week there had been a meeting with representatives of the Association of European Leagues to present what would be the new competition model with the variant of six teams per team. UEFA denied the meeting, although it stated that talks with interest groups to reshape their competitions from 2024 would resume soon and that no decisions have yet been made. With the increase to six clubs per group, UEFA intends to guarantee 10 games each in the first phase, four more than now, with the consequent increase in terms of income from television rights and box office.
Crisis due to the pandemic
The creation of the breakthrough Superliga, which Josep Maria Bartomeu announced publicly the day he resigned as Barcelona president, has been accelerated by the devastating economic effects derived from the pandemic. However, before the great powers of European club football had expressed their complaints to the president of UEFA, Aleksander Ceferin, about the distribution of the money they receive for participating in European competitions. The driving clubs of the Superliga demand more income and in their day they came to propose that the money that UEFA gives to the federations for the development of football be cut, or that these amounts be transferred from the income that UEFA obtains for the organization of the Eurocup every four years and not for what they obtained with the Champions League.
When Bartomeu announced that he planned to put Barcelona’s incorporation into the European Super League to a vote in an assembly of compromise partners, the reactions of UEFA and its affiliated associations were as immediate as they were contrary. “The hypothesis of a kind of European Super League deserves my total disagreement and my rejection because it violates all the principles of sporting merit. As far as we know, it would be a kind of self-proclaimed privileged club. The last thing he needs is the exacerbation of selfishness, “said Fernando Gomes, vice president of the UEFA Executive Committee and president of the Portuguese federation.
His Spanish counterpart in the European body, Luis Rubiales, also spoke in the same direction. “The return of football cannot go entirely to the elite, a part of it must necessarily have an impact on training, at the base, and ultimately on the most modest football, and this is what UEFA has achieved with its current model ”, Warned the president of Spanish football.
Rubiales’ message also dropped that UEFA is working on the remodeling of the Champions League. “UEFA has for many years built the best club competition in the world, the Champions League, and will continue to lead it, drive it forward and generate more wealth every year. UEFA works on a daily basis and aspires to the best for European football. This Champions League will continue to evolve until reaching levels never before achieved ”, added Rubiales.
With the remodeling of the Champions under study, now it is necessary to know how it will be received by the clubs that have launched the ordeal of the European Super League. According to several of them consulted, they intend to announce their creation at the end of this season.