UEFA Considers Revamping European Football Structure, Potentially Scrapping Existing Competitions
Reports suggest that UEFA is considering a significant overhaul of European football, potentially replacing current competitions such as the Champions League, Europa League, and Conference League with a new format.
In 2021, football fans were taken aback when 12 prominent European clubs announced their intention to establish a breakaway Super League, a move that sparked widespread outrage. UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin even went as far as to warn that players participating in such a league could face bans from tournaments like the World Cup.
Ultimately, the Super League’s operations were suspended, and the league never came to fruition, despite some clubs signing lengthy 23-year agreements. An official ruling from the European Court of Justice is still pending.
However, recent reports from El Pais, via Calcio Finanza, have suggested that UEFA and the European Club Association (ECA) are exploring the possibility of introducing a revamped football structure that could include a new Super League.
Under this proposed system, the existing Champions League, Europa League, and Conference League would be scrapped, giving way to a new format featuring three divisions, each comprised of 18 teams. The new structure would include two promotion and relegation slots between the top two divisions and four between the third and fourth divisions.
Concerns have been raised by some of Europe’s most influential clubs regarding the potential impact on their status, and they are said to request that relegation should not solely depend on a single year’s performance.
Additionally, clubs would be permitted to expand their squads to accommodate 34 players, considering the increased number of games in this proposed system.
It’s worth noting that the Champions League format is already set to change from the 2024/25 season, with four additional teams joining the revamped competition, which will adopt a league-style structure.
The 2023/24 Champions League will mark the final edition under the traditional format. In the new system, teams will face eight matches against seeded opponents during the initial phase over ten match weeks. The top eight teams in the final table will proceed to the knockout stages, while teams ranked from ninth to 24th will engage in a play-off, with the winners advancing.
SPORTbible has reached out to UEFA and the ECA for their comments on these reports.