Champions League (UCL): UEFA’s New Format Similar To European Super League?

Champions League (UCL): UEFA’s New Format Similar To European Super League?

The new format of Champions League and UEL was announced by UEFA just after the European Super League announcement. Maybe, that’s the reason it has not faced the backlash like the ESL. However, after the ESL has collapsed, fans have finally started to see how this new format “Swiss Model” is similar to European Super League. So, is the new Champions League format announced by UEFA similar to European Super League, and why is there a backlash from the fans, clubs, and players?

Yes, it is similar to European Super League in many ways. For example, the coefficient-based system that evaluates the past success rather than the current form provides the safety net for the big clubs as ESL provided. Also, the new format just increases the number of games and it will only increase the revenue for the UEFA and decrease the competitive nature of the tournament.

Champions League Trophy

UCL’s new format was announced on 19th April 2021 and it is proposed to start from the 2024/2025 season. The decision broke out amid Super league turmoil. One of the main the reasons behind the decision to start this new format from 2024 is that the existing broadcasting contract will end in 2024[1]. Thus, giving UEFA a chance to leverage more revenue from new broadcasting contracts that will have more games than the current format.

This controversial format will run until 2033 if it gets approved[2]. The format is completely revamped and new to the people who are accustomed to the group stage form in the Champions League.

New format of Champions league explained and Drogba running with the cup
Source: Flickr

UEFA’s new format for UCL

The major change has to be the number of teams involved in the competition and the league format rather than the usual group stage we are accustomed to. Before there were 32 teams but after this change, there will be 36 teams and each team will play against 10 different oppositions (5 home games and 5 away games).

The fixtures for the league will be decided by the Seeding Coefficient system of UEFA. The top 8 teams from the league will qualify for the knockout phase while the teams that finish 9th to 24th will have to play two-legged play-off for the remaining 8 slots. After this, it is similar to the current format: Knockout, Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Final. [3]

Video explaining the new format

This addition of new teams and structure of the league not only increases the number of games but also increases the revenue for the clubs involved. So, why is it facing backlash from the clubs, fans, and players?

Why the backlash?

UEFA and FIFA heads are not concerned with the betterment of football rather they are more focused on generating more revenue and increasing their salary [4]. And, there is constant pressure from the broadcasters to increase the number of games hence the new format for UCL and UEL was initiated. The major reasons why and how this new format threatens the game and is facing major backlash are:

Fans and football will suffer

The ever-rising tickets, traveling, and T.V fees are already a concern for the working-class fans who can’t spend (time and money) any more than they are doing right now [5]. It’s unlikely that the fans will travel to more away games and with the increase in games, the ticket price will skyrocket as well.

The fixtures and season are sure to be affected by the scandalous FIFA World Cup 2022, Qatar and the football world don’t need more disruptions as it is already coping with COVID-19 and will have to cope with FIFA World Cup 2022, Qatar.

This might push the fans and cause a chain reaction. The result of this reaction might be a bigger disruption in the football industry than COVID-19. Everybody including football fans is affected by the COVID-19 crisis and no one knows how long it will go on and how long it will take for the economy to recover. So, to announce something that will force fans to spend more in this turbulent time is very disheartening and malicious.

Small clubs can’t compete

As things are standing, it is already difficult for many teams to compete with the clubs that can spend big. In the new format that has been proposed by UEFA, the clubs will need a great squad depth to compete in the competition because of the increased number of games[6]. The squad depth is the luxury in football that only a very few clubs can enjoy.

Even the so-called big teams will find it impossible to compete on all fronts as the number of games is already at its apex. Many fans have voiced against this new format stating that the new format will only increase the disparity between the “rich” and “poor” clubs [7].

Players will suffer

As the number of games is already at its apex, players' mental and physical health will be compromised to an incurable extent. Players are human beings after all and there is a limit to their physical and mental strength.

IIkay Gundogan's word against ESL and new format of Champions League
Source: ESPN FC

We all enjoy watching football and many of the fans can watch the game every day but let’s be honest, is it possible for the players to play every single day? They are human beings, after all, there’s a limit to their bodies and they have family and other things in life as we have.

Safety net for big clubs

The two slots from additional four spots are the one that has been branded as the safety net for the big clubs. These two slots will be filled based on past achievement (Club Coefficient). This is very similar to the Super League approach as it is not based on current performance rather on the status of the club. [8]

For example, you can finish outside the top 4 in any major league and still qualify based on your past achievement in the Champions League. This increases the possibility of having more than 5 teams from a single league in the Champions League.

Domestic League/Cup will die

To accommodate the room for more games in the new Champions League, the domestic cups like League One and FA cups (England’s context) will be compromised.

Also, there is a rumor that states of reducing the number of teams from 20 to 18 for domestic leagues [9]. This will hamper the clubs and significantly decrease their chance of survival. The clubs that generate revenue from the broadcasting contract will be in a dire financial situation after the size reduction as the chance of getting relegated is much higher.

Double standards by UEFA

Against European Super League, UEFA and broadcasters have sided with the fans but one can question UEFA’s approach in tackling racism. And, one can only dream what would have happened if UEFA had shown the same ruthlessness to racism and corruption!

Partick Bamford's words against racism
Harsh reality (Source: Facebook)

We all love football for its impact on and off the pitch but the governing bodies of football have failed to do so.

Change is inevitable. Everyone is afraid of the change as it looks scary at the start. But change should be for the betterment not for making things worse. I hope Fans, Players, Clubs, ECA, UEFA, and everyone who loves football can come together and propose a plan that's for the advancement and betterment of the game rather than mere revenue generation and greed.

What do you think? Are you excited or disappointed with this new format? What other aspects of this new format is similar to Super League? Should this new format be approved ? Do you want to change the existing Champions League format? If yes, what would you like to change?

Thank you for your visit. I hope everything was clear, if not please do not hesitate to contact me for suggestions or queries regarding this topic. Honest feedback is highly appreciated. You can contact me via “ “. Thanks again.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.