Uefa announce radical new changes to expanded Champions League but axe plans for Euro Super League-style qualification

UEFA has scrapped a controversial Champions League qualification proposal after the plan appeared to favour ‘big clubs’.

The top-table of European club football is set to expand from its current 32-team format to 36 from the 2024-25 season.

Uefa have scrapped a controversial ‘leapfrogging’ proposal from their Champions League qualifying shake-upCredit: Reuters

As part of the shake-up, Uefa had proposed reserving two of the additional four spots to clubs with a recent strong record in the competition who had failed to qualify via the usual routes.

That means, hypothetically and based on this season’s Premier League table, Manchester United could have finished sixth and still qualified for the Champions League ahead of fifth-placed club Tottenham.

Uefa have now agreed the proposed “leapfrogging” is unfair, with the plan to be axed.

However, the governing body did confess they will still consider using their own rankings to decide the additional spots in the competition.

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Uefa have their own ranking system – club coefficients – based on each team’s performances in Europe over a five-year rolling cycle.

Under this proposal, the top-ranked clubs to finish outside of the traditional Champions League qualifying spots – i.e. top-four in the Premier League – could still be given the nod.

However, after scrapping the “leapfrogging” idea, Man Utd, ranked ninth in Europe by Uefa, would not qualify ahead of fifth-placed Spurs, ranked 13th by the governing body.

It’s claimed some Uefa officials believe TV rights deals could be slashed should some of the biggest names in Europe fail to qualify for the Champions League.

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However, critics have slammed that concept – suggesting it’s just their way of sneaking the much-maligned European Super League into existence despite the widespread opposition.

As recently as last week, Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin called for the entire proposal to be axed – with the club coefficient model still benefit the biggest and richest clubs.

Ceferin has demanded “more places for smaller and mainly, to be honest, mid-size leagues”.

For now, Uefa are still working on their qualification model with a final decision expected in May.

According to The Times, two spots are still likely to be given to the teams with the highest Uefa ranking who have failed to qualify.

Another will be given to the third-placed team in Ligue 1 – with France only having two automatic qualification spots at present.

The fourth and final additional spot could go to the champion of the highest-ranked nation NOT to already have a single automatic qualification spot.


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