The future of the UEFA Champions League would be, to some extent, decided when the European Club Association (ECA) meets in Geneva this week, on Monday and Tuesday. The subject of the meeting being the proposals presented by UEFA to reshape the current format of Champions League.
European football’s governing body had made the proposal in May and Juventus Chairman Andrea Agnelli, who leads the ECA, is believed to be closely involved in the proposal to bring changes in the current system.
The changes include the introduction of four groups of eight, a tiered system with relegation and promotion which would make the top six teams of each group automatically qualifying for the next year’s tournament. UEFA also proposed to make all the Champions League matches weekend fixtures.
Most of the big names of the continent’s football including Juventus, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain, among others, have reportedly talked in favour of the reformation. But the English Premier League issued a statement saying, “The domestic game should continue to be the priority for professional clubs.”
Other than the EPL administrations, various small clubs across Europe have opposed UEFA’s proposal pf reformation. They argue the proposed changes would make the domestic leagues irrelevant as the clubs would no longer be needed to perform there to gain access to Europe’s main club competition.
“This reform would especially harm medium and small clubs. It eliminates the access to the top flight of European competitions through domestic leagues. Fans will gradually lose interest in domestic leagues and those leagues would be further economically damaged,” Wanja Greuel, the president of the current Swiss champions Young Boys of Berne was quoted as saying by ANI.
Despite holding regular talks about the subject, both UEFA and ECA have regularly denied the paternity of the project. Many in ECA believe that despite playing an influential role in trying to bring forth the changes, most of the big clubs that are involved are also trying to maintain an ambiguity to not lose their credibility.