Plans for revamped Champions League to be agreed on Monday

The revamped 36-team Champions League is expected to be agreed on Monday.

The controversial new format, to start in 2024 and run until at least 2033, was due to be signed off last month.

But a planned announcement was scrapped amid arguments over club involvement in the running of the tournament.

Not all details have been agreed but key meetings on Friday underlined enough progress had been made for the new format to be presented to Uefa’s powerful executive committee on Monday.

The new format will see 36 clubs qualifying for an expanded ‘first phase’, where all clubs will play against 10 opponents of varying strengths.

This will result in a league table, with the top eight qualifying for the knockout phase and the next 16 going into a play-off for the remaining eight slots.

The format has been criticised by fans’ groups, not least because two of the additional four slots will be allocated on the basis of past performance, to the clubs with the highest Uefa co-efficient that did not qualify for the Champions League automatically – but did qualify for another European competition.

If the process was in existence this season, Liverpool – depending on the outcome of the domestic cup competitions – and Chelsea would have been the clubs who stood to benefit.

The criticism around this format is that it would strip away the basis of qualification being around league position as a team could qualify for the Champions League despite finishing lower in the table than a team in the same league that missed out.

Fans groups want ‘reckless plan’ dropped

Fans groups, including those from Manchester United and Arsenal, want the “reckless plans” to restructure the Champions League dropped.

In an open letter to European Club Association (ECA) chairman and Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli, they say proposals are a “serious threat to the entire game”.

“You will only make the gap between the rich and the rest bigger, wreck domestic calendars, and expect fans to sacrifice yet more time and money,” Football Supporters Europe wrote.

The letter was signed by 17 fans’ groups from 14 teams whose clubs are in the ECA, including Ajax, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

They added: “Such a blatant power grab would be indefensible at the best of times, but at the height of a global pandemic, it is nothing more than crisis profiteering, not to mention a stark contrast to the solidarity displayed by fans.

“Over the past year, we have supported our clubs unconditionally, buying season tickets with no hope of attending games, and paying for TV subscriptions to watch repetitive ties held in empty, soulless stadiums, all while you were working behind the scenes to find new ways to bleed us dry.

“We, therefore, demand that you drop your reckless plans. We also call on football’s governing bodies to stop making concessions to elite clubs and intervene to protect the future of the game.”

Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish previously said the 36-team Champions League would have “a devastating effect” on the English game.

No Euros games in Manchester

In addition to Champions League reforms, there should also be clarity over the venues for Euro 2020 at Monday’s ex-co meeting.

Munich, Bilbao and Dublin are still to confirm to Uefa that they can host games with crowds.

Positive noises have been coming out of Munich around their availability but doubts remain over Bilbao and Dublin.

Should neither venue be able to host games, Seville has been suggested as an alternative to Bilbao, although an idea that Manchester might replace Dublin has been ruled out due to extensive pitch renovations already scheduled for Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium.

Source: Modern Ghana

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