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Champions League shake-up preferred by UEFA as tournament facing huge changes

UEFA are set to hold talks on a new Champions League format that could see clubs play 10 different opponents in the initial stages, according to a report.

The Times claim that the co-called ‘Swiss system’ – something initially outlined in the New York Times in January – has been gaining traction in the corridors of power at UEFA in recent months, as European football’s governing body seek to counter the threat of a possible breakaway European Super League.

The system is said to have been on the table for the past year, but has now become the frontrunner as UEFA consider what look to be inevitable changes to the tournament from 2024.

The format would see more matches played between some of European football’s heavyweights, with some of the fixtures potentially taking place at weekends in a move which is sure to be unpopular with domestic leagues.

Bayern Munich won the Champions League last season

Teams involved in the tournament will play at least four extra matches in the initial stages, with the top eight clubs in the ‘league’ going through to the last-16.

Clubs finishing in positions 9-24 will go into a playoff to decide the remaining eight last-16 places, with the bottom eight clubs exiting the competition as they do currently.

Europe’s elite could meet more regularly in the new format

UEFA are desperate to act in order to appease bigger clubs who are considering a break away to a European Super League, in which they think they can boost revenue through playing extra matches against each other.

Premier League champions Liverpool, last season’s runners-up Manchester City, three-times European champions Manchester United and 2012 Champions League winners Chelsea are the four English representatives in this season’s tournament, with all four closing in on qualification for the last-16 stage.

How would new structure look?

  • One league, comprising 32 teams.
  • Each team plays 10 matches against opponents assigned after seeds.
  • After 10 games, the top 8 teams qualify for the last 16, the bottom 8 teams are out.
  • Places 9-24 playoff in matches – 9 vs 24, 10 vs 23, 11 vs 22 etc – with the eight winners entering the last 16.
  • Last 16 onwards is knockout in the same manner as it currently stands

Do you agree with the proposed new format? Have your say in the comments below

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