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Champions League: Format changes planned for 2024 set to be delayed or scrapped

27.11.19

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By Simon Stone
BBC Sport at Geneva
The radical changes to football are likely to either be delayed or scrapped.
A Champions League comprising four classes of eight clubs to the eight groups of four was being proposed by uefa.
The suggestions came after pressure from leagues below the”big five” – England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France.
However no total consensus has been attained.
A third club competition which commences in 2021, promotion and relegation in the Europa League along with the new Europa League two, had been suggested to protect against the Champions League looking to be a contest.
Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar has been one of the most vocal demanding change, pointing out the current qualification system might have resulted in his team with no European soccer at all later August, even though they arrived within minutes of having to last season’s Champions League last before Lucas Moura’s striking injury-time goal for Tottenham at Amsterdam.
The chance is that anything will be much less radical than envisaged Even though the clubs stay committed to change.
Ex-Netherlands goalkeeper Van der Sar was present in Geneva on Monday for its first evening of a two-day assembly of Europe’s top nightclubs, by which England’s”big six” nightclubs – Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United – were represented.
Sources have said resolving the Ajax”problem” is relatively simple and could be reached by allowing all semi-finalists to the group phase and introducing a play-off for its fourth-placed teams in the two lowest-ranking leagues who undergo four automatic set stage slots – currently Italy and Germany.
A obstacle to implementing the proposed changes is concern among the significant leagues, including the Premier League, that when the plan of Uefa results in tv revenue for their rivals, it will come at the cost of their competitions.
There is debate about this, but the view is widely held and puts clubs in these competitions at loggerheads with counterparts in the Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium and Scotland, among others, where big-name clubs are restricted in their capacity to progress because access to TV money from their very own domestic rivals is strictly restricted.
They sense the difference will wind up being so broad, unless action is taken quickly, it will never be bridged.
Last year, the Premier League’s bottom club, Huddersfield, made #96.6m in TV money independently. In 2018, Scottish champions Celtic’s entire earnings, such as prize money in the Champions League, was 101.6m, with a sum which has been decreased markedly in 2019 due to the failure to meet the requirements for the group stages of Europe’s elite competition.
It’s the absence of consensus which resulted in Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin cancelling the crucial tri-party talks (involving Uefathe leagues and the clubs) that were due to be held in Switzerland on Wednesday.
These discussions are put back with chances being that they might not be held until the season’s close.
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