Premier League wants changes to UEFA’s Champions League ‘Swiss Model’ reforms


The plans would see clubs qualify for Europe based on previous performances in the competition rather than their position in the table

Premier League clubs have voted against many of UEFA’s plans to revamp the Champions League after 2024, including the awarding of places based on historical performance.

The English top-flight had a video conference call with members from each club to discuss proposals by UEFA that also would see more fixtures for clubs in Europe.

It is feared that the new plans, if left unchecked, would diminish the interest in domestic leagues.

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The changes were focused on three main points: access to the competitions, impact on the football calender and changes to the volume of matches.

Those possible changes in 2024 could also leave clubs with European commitments unable to compete in the EFL Cup, which is currently branded as the Carabao Cup.

What are UEFA’s plans?

The group stage would be replaced by a 36-team league which would see 10 fixtures played per team to determine the standings.

It would open four extra spots for the competition and what has been described as the ‘Swiss Model’ is essentially a massive league in which teams would not have to play against every other side.

There would be five home and five away matches against 10 different teams for the clubs that qualified. The top eight teams would be eligible for the last-16, while ninth to 24th would go into a play-off round for the eight remaining spots.

Alongside that, European coefficients rather than domestic league standings would be used to decide who qualifies for the Champions League and Europa League. This would make it harder for clubs outside the established elite to get into the top competitions and earn the revenues that come with it.

If there are more matches, the Premier League asks that all group stage games are completed by December.

Champions League trophy Pep Guardiola

Why is this being discussed now?

The threat of a breakaway Super League has led to pressure being put on UEFA for reforms that would benefit many of Europe’s super clubs.

If a Super League is formed, UEFA, FIFA and the Premier League would be left out of revenues involving the game’s biggest clubs.

Ahead of the latest TV rights deal ending in 2024, a new system is allowed to be put in place that could appease those threatening to start a Super League.

Who would benefit from the changes?

It would benefit England’s top six clubs, including Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea. It would also help Europe’s elite clubs like Juventus, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich stay at the top of the sport.

However, the Premier League, which consists of 20 clubs, are broadly against the proposals. Indeed, so are many other bodies across Europe.

Speaking at the Financial Times’ Business of Football Summit, Bundesliga CEO Christian Seifert said: “The brutal truth is that a few of those so-called super clubs are in fact poorly managed cash-burning machines.

“They will burn this money like they burned it the last 10 years. If I was an investor, I would really question if they were the right partner.”

The European League, which represents domestic football across the continent, released a statement last week to make their concerns public.

“The European Leagues have raised strong concerns about more matchdays in such a flexible system in an already very congested calendar,” the organisation wrote.

“They also questioned the possible impact of access as well as commercial components on the sporting and financial balance of domestic leagues. Finally, they discussed several options regarding financial redistribution.”

However, they went onto say: “The European leagues welcome the consultation process led by UEFA and consider that the vision based on the so-called ‘Swiss Model’ is an improvement compared to the more radical proposals that emerged in 2019.”

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