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WSJ: UEFA, ECA discussing major changes to the Champions League

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If these proposals do come to pass, the sport as we know it will change forever.

Juventus v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Final Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

It appeared that plans for the long-rumored European Super League were shelved following a joint announcement that UEFA and the ECA were agreeing to stick with the current structure of club soccer in Europe through 2024. However, a new report from the Wall Street Journal (paywalled) says that the two sides are meeting this week to discuss any and all possible changes.

UEFA refused to comment to the WSJ for the store. However, the Premier League’s CEO Richard Scudamore and La Liga President Javier Tebas have previously voiced their opinions on such ideas. Scudamore has said, “Nobody’s going to give up weekends,” and Tebas said the previous proposals, “put national leagues in danger.”

There’s no question that the big clubs in Spain, Germany, Italy, and France are pushing hard for these changes to go into effect. Due to the Premier League’s television contracts, the team that finishes in last place makes nearly as much money as the champions of the other European leagues. Still, the big English clubs are always behind the ECA, as they don’t want to risk their current positions in the game.

The report states that several clubs in the ECA don’t want to wait for 2024 and are pushing for the changes to start in 2021.

Proposed changes under discussion:

  • A promotion and relegation system that would replace the current qualifying structure ensuring a more closed structure where the biggest and richest clubs are always involved
  • Only four of 32 teams relegated out of the competition ever year
  • Matches being moved from midweek to the weekend
  • More matches for all teams (previously, a minimum of 14 were proposed)

In the fall, Der Spiegel and Football Leaks exposed a plan under discussion by Europe’s biggest clubs to break away and form their own “super league”. Now, however, it appears that the ECA thinks that if they form their super league within the confines of UEFA’s constructs that they’ll avoid some criticism. We’ll see about that.