UEFA has had talks about reformatting the Champions League, with a proposal to expand the competition to 36 teams – six of which could be from the Premier League.
The suggestion was made during Thursday’s shareholder call in February, and any changes to the current format are expected to take effect from 2024.
If the first European competition was enlarged to 36 teams, the traditional groups of four teams would be replaced by a single group. Each team would play ten group matches each – with matches based on the ranking – before being placed first through 36th in the final draw.
The top eight teams would automatically emerge in the round of 16, while the last eight places in the knockout first round would be decided via a system of play-offs between the teams that finish ninth through 24th.
No final decision has yet been made on the proposal, however, if the 36-team competition is given the green light, as many as six Premier League teams could take part in the Champions League.
The top four teams in the Premier League would qualify for the competition as usual, while two more places could be won by teams finishing outside the top four.
Those positions would be decided using the UEFA coefficient – a metric currently used to determine seed that takes into account the competition’s historical performance – although no team finishing below seventh in the league is taken. into account.
For example, if Liverpool and Chelsea finished fifth and sixth in the Premier League respectively, the top four teams in the league would automatically qualify. But the heavyweight duo could also make the cut by virtue of their UEFA coefficient (i.e. if they have performed quite well in recent editions of the competitions).
England’s entries in European tournaments would be capped at seven, meaning that should the aforementioned scenario come true, only one Premier League side would be allowed to enter the Europa League.
Does that make any sense? No, I do not think so. Well we have tried.