Premier League clubs concerned over 'unfeasible' Champions League reform and fixture congestion
Premier League clubs have chief concerns that plans to enlarge the Champions League will lead to "unfeasible" fixture congestion, and the potential for European matches to be staged on the similar day as top-flight domestic games.
Up until now, there has been an agreement with UEFA that there must be no conflict between Champions League matches and Premier League games, with the weekend protected for domestic fixtures.
However, Sky Sports News has been told there are prevalent worries that plans of UEFA will be not viable, and can lead to European and domestic games going head to head - particularly if suggestions are pushed through for 10 Champions League group matches per team from 2024 as a substitute of the 6 matches currently played.
UEFA has by now dedicated to expand the Champions League from 32 teams to 36 from 2024. That was voted through without fanfare at their executive committee meeting previous month.
We understand the Premier League is at present lobbying UEFA for simply 2 additional matches for each team in the group stages instead of the planned four. That would take the full number of games in the group stages to eight per team.
Under the present system, there are 125 Champions League games in total for every season. If the tournament is expanded to comprise 8 group games for every team, which would mean 64 more matches - 189 in total (a 50 per cent increase), while 10 group games would lead to 100 more games, and a total of 225 Champions League matches throughout Europe, over the course of the tournament - a 80 per cent increase.
A few officials have told Sky Sports News that such a large growth could well direct to a drop in UEFA revenue, as broadcasters across Europe might be put off from bidding for the rights to host the competition. UEFA rules dictate that broadcasters who win the rights must show all matches and not cherry-pick the best.
The new "Swiss format" which UEFA has proposed is anticipated to be ratified next month by its executive committee - even if there are murmurings amid European officials that UEFA may be enforced to compromise.
The plans include 36 clubs all in one "conference", whereby every team is drawn to play 8 or 10 different opponents, on the basis of UEFA's "coefficient" – that means those teams who have done superior in European competitions historically will be seeded higher, and play more of their group games against lesser antagonism.
Topmost 16 teams in the conference will then progress to the knockout stages, where the format will stay the similar as now. There will no longer be home and away games against the similar resistance until the knockout phases.
Elsewhere in Europe, there are concerns that UEFA is pandering to the privileged English clubs by providing them more and more places in the Champions League, at the expense of smaller footballing nations. At present, the champions of 44 European economies need to pre-qualify for the Champions League before they have the possibility of reaching the group stages.
Mr. Krishna Prasad
Mr. Naga Prasad