UEFA propose plans to drastically revamp Champions League

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How good has this season’s Champions League been?

The group stage alone brought its usual excitement but when it reached the knockout stages, the competition really came alive.

The last-16 involved Juventus coming back from 2-0 down in the first leg against Atletico Madrid to win 3-2 on aggregate thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick, Liverpool seeing off Bayern Munich, Ajax beating Real Madrid 4-1 at the Bernabeu and Manchester United’s incredible comeback against Paris Saint-Germain.

In the last-eight, Tottenham beat Manchester City in one of the most incredible 90 minutes the tournament has ever seen while Ajax upset the odds once again to knock out Real Madrid - who had won the previous three editions.

Then, in the semi-finals, both Liverpool and Spurs completed remarkable comebacks to see off Barcelona and Ajax respectively.

Just imagine how incredible the final is going to be...

Who on earth would want to change this wonderful competition?

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Errrr UEFA do.

According to several reports, UEFA is considering a proposal to revamp the Champions League in 2024 ‘in a way that would move toward a closed-off competition favouring elite clubs over rivals from smaller domestic leagues.’

Officials from domestic leagues were shown the proposal for restructured European competitions this week.

It would allow the top 24 teams in a 32-team Champions League to qualify automatically for the next season’s event, regardless of where they finish in their domestic league.

Four groups of eight would be formed, with the top four sides qualifying for the 16-team knockout stages.

Liverpool v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second Leg

At the end of each season, the bottom side in the four groups will be relegated into the next season’s second-tier Europa League.

They would then be replaced by four Europa League semi-finalists who would be promoted.

While only four further places would be left for domestic champions competing in preliminary rounds.

There will also be a third division containing 64 teams with clubs being able to be promoted and relegated among the three.

Also, some matches could take place at the weekend. 

It’s believed that ‘the biggest clubs, notably those from Spain and Italy, are pushing the proposals the hardest.’

As you’d expect, the new plans have angered football fans - especially after such an incredible week of European football.

Gary Lineker simply wrote: “This is deeply concerning.”

The main concern is that it prevents smaller clubs from competing and will involve the same big sides every season.

La Liga president Javier Tebas is a vocal critic of the plans but admitted that UEFA seemed to have presented a concrete plan with little room for negotiation.

“We cannot accept that these are just plans and proposals for an open discussion with stakeholders about the future of professional football,” Tebas told the New York Times. “In reality, we were presented with a concrete project developed by UEFA in full cooperation with a small group of rich and powerful European clubs to reform European club competitions after 2024 in a format that could destroy domestic competitions and the sporting and financial sustainability of the vast majority of clubs in Europe.

“We are open for a constructive dialogue to reform European football together with other stakeholders, but if this is the project on the table, then the margins for negotiations are very limited.”

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