A New Champions League Format – Take 3

Uefa are considering a proposal to double the number of teams in the Champions League from 32 to 64 teams. Soccerissue would like to help

Uefa are considering a proposal to double the number of teams in the Champions League from 32 to 64 teams.

The idea would see European football’s governing body scrap the Europa League. It’s even more correct to write that it will integrate both tournaments into one big tournament.

“We’re discussing it. We will make a decision in 2014. Nothing is decided yet,” Uefa president Michel Platini told French newspaper Ouest-France.

I have been thinking, discussing and writing about it for a long time now and I really think that The Champions League can be 64teams big but still very interesting. But it all depends on the format. Because if the current Champions League format (4 teams in each group) will just be enlarged, it will not be just boring, it will be extremely boring.

So here is the suggested format (Champions League integrated with Europa League)  that makes more sporting and economic sense:

- 64 clubs will be divided into 8 regional conferences, comprised of 8 teams each.

- No more than 7 teams from each country.

- Teams competing  will be champions, cup winners, league cup winners and best performing teams in the leagues.

The conferences are as follows:

Northern Europe Conference, British Conference, Upper Central Conference, Lower Central Conference, Iberian Conference, Southern Conference, Eastern Conference, South Eastern Conference

The UEFA ranking system will be used to determine the 32 clubs that automatically qualify to the Super League. The other clubs will go through qualifying rounds.

The qualifying rounds will be regional – each conference will be divided to 2 divisions. 2 teams will qualify from each division.

Each team will play 7 games against the other teams in their groups, and 7 additional games against teams from other conferences (with a similar UEFA ranking). 14 “regular season” games overall.

There won’t be two games played against the same opponent – Just one, home or away. The following season, if the same teams play each other again, the home side will alternate.

One club in each conference will qualify to the next round, with another 8 with best overall record will qualify as well.

The playoffs will be played in a single-match format – either win or go home.

Main advantages of this format

- Each team will have a minimum of 7 home games, unlike today (3).

- Each game will be a lot more interesting because of sporting and regional importance. The games will also have a direct impact on next year’s rankings.

- The big teams will meet each other on a regular basis, unlike today.

- A single Knock-Out match will be interesting for neutral observers, thus boosting ratings and ad revenue


- Revenues from media rights and sponsorship deals of such a league will be shared between all participating clubs. Some portion of the match-day revenue will also be shared between the 64 clubs.

- Each club will have to register 25 players for the competition. The sum of these players’ contracts won’t pass a certain mark (i.e. 250M Euros per year). This means that clubs will have to calculate very carefully which players will feature in the European tournament.

- The league will set up a pool of solidarity payments to football associations’ grass-roots programs, which will be about 10% – 15% of all league revenue.

Here is an example of what the conferences would look like: 

Northern conference

FC Copenhagen, AIK Stockholm, Molde, FC Nordsjælland, Anderlecht, Club Brugge, Ajax, PSV Eindhoven

British Conference

Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Celtic, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Everton

Upper Central Conference

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Schalke 04, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Hamburger SV , Lille, Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon

Lower Central Conference

AC Milan, Inter, Juventus, Napoli, AS Roma, Lazio, FC Basel, Red Bull Salzburg

Iberian Conference

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Malaga, Porto, Benfica, Sporting Lisbon

Eastern Conference

Legia Warsaw, Sparta Prague, MŠK Žilina, Debreceni VSC, FC Viktoria Plzeň, Levski Sofia, CFR Cluj,  FC Steaua Bucureşti

Eurasian Conference

Shakhtar Donetsk, Dynamo Kiev, CSKA Moscow, Rubin Kazan, Spartak Moskva, Zenit St. Petersburg, FC BATE Borisov, FC Anji Makhachkala

South Eastern Conference                       

Dinamo Zagreb, NK Maribor, Partizan Belgrade, APOEL Nicosia, Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, Fenerbahce, Galatasaray

Here’s an example for a team’s schedule:

Barcelona will play games against their conference rivals: Real Madrid (H), Atlético Madrid (A), Athletic Bilbao (H), Malaga (A), Porto (H), Benfica (A), Sporting Lisbon (H)

They will also play 7 non-conference games against same-level clubs with a similar UEFA club coefficient:

Arsenal (A), Manchester United (H), Bayern Munich (A), Inter (H), FC Shakhtar Donetsk (A), Olympique Lyonnais (H), Chelsea (A)

Here are the divisions for the qualifying rounds.

1 automatic qualifier from each division – team with best record in the qualifying round (most wins and goals).

Teams with second best record in their division will compete against each other for a place in the Super League.

Regions affiliated to Northern conference

Benelux division:  Teams from The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg

Scandinavian division: Teams from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland.

Regions affiliated to the British Conference

UK Division: Teams from England, Wales, Northern Ireland

Celtic Division: Teams from Scotland, Republic of Ireland

Regions affiliated to the Upper Central Conference

The French division: Teams from France

The German Division: Teams from Germany

Regions affiliated to the Lower Central Conference

The Alpine division: Teams from Austria and Switzerland

The Italian division: Teams from Italy

Regions affiliated to Iberian Conference

Spain Division: Teams from Spain + Andorra

Portuguese division: Teams from Portugal

Regions affiliated to the Eastern Conference

Danube Division: Teams from Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria

North East Division: Teams from Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia  

Regions affiliated to the Eurasian conference  

Ukraine Baltic division: Teams from Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania

Russian Division: Teams from Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia

Regions affiliated to the South Eastern Conference

Balkan Division: Teams from the Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Bulgaria.

Mediterranean division:  Teams from Albania, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and Israel

Earlier Formats I wrote about:

A Champions League format UEFA must consider

A Champions League Format UEFA must consider – TAKE 2 




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