UEFA and ECA are working on a Champions League rebuilding from 2024 onwards. More participants, a
league system with ascents and descents, games on the weekend – there are big changes ahead.
Just now, the fans had to get used to new kick-off times and TV channels, but that’s no comparison to
what they could expect from the 2024/25 season in the Champions League. A week ago, representatives
from UEFA and ECA, the Association of European Clubs, met in Nyon for a first exchange, and a
concept is to be worked out in the next 12 to 18 months. A big reform is imminent – and therefore also a
lot of controversy.
For example, ECA chairman Andrea Agnelli did not want to rule out that European Cup games will take
place on the weekend, something that DFL head Christian Seifert had called a “red line”. Although the
word “weekend” had not fallen at the meeting in Nyon, “I do not quite understand where that comes
from,” said Agnelli at the final press conference of the ECA General Assembly in Amsterdam. But he did
not want to exclude it later on, concrete demand.
There are already ascents and descents, weighs ECA boss Agnelli
In general, the rebuilding of the Champions League is about giving more clubs the chance to take part in
a UEFA competition, “to create a system in which all clubs from all over Europe can participate and
grow,” said Agnelli probably also in view of the controversial new club World Cup from 2021 : “At the
moment we see new players in the industry. It’s about understanding how the map will look in 2024/25.”
It is not a European “Super League”, which will be realized through the back door.
One of the ideas discussed but not yet worked out is converting the group phase of the Champions
League into a kind of first division of the European Cup and creating one or two other leagues – including
up and downs. The latter is already happening, Agnelli downplayed this spectacular option, which offers
the big clubs even more financial planning security and would be completely contrary to the beginnings
in this competition with exclusive knockout games. Currently, clubs can “descend” from champions to the
Europa League. On the other hand, it is unlikely that it would amount to four groups of eight, according to
an alleged request. “This is the first time I hear this suggestion, and I’ve heard a few,” said Agnelli.
Agnelli praises the “greatest possible transparency” – but laughs at a question
Although the president of Juventus highlighted not only the “very close” cooperation with UEFA but also
the “greatest possible transparency” in the reform, much of it remains in the dark for the time being.
Where exactly do UEFA and ECA go? What are the consequences of the national leagues, which would
hardly like a kind of European parallel league? And what does all this mean for the future of Europa
League and “Europa League 2”, which will be added in 2021? “A lot of work is still needed,” said Agnelli,
and unlike the past, there is an “open, transparent process” for all concerned.
When a reporter asked if the proposals now being drafted would be made public before a decision was
made, Agnelli only laughed: it will not happen, of course.