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Boydton Wednesday 27 Sep 2023
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The Future of Football: Champions League’s Swiss Model

By BNN Newsroom
The Future of Football: Champions League’s Swiss Model
The Future of Football: Champions League's Swiss Model

A New Era for Champions League

The Champions League is set to undergo a significant transformation from the 2024/2025 season, with plans to adopt a “Swiss model” format. This move represents a shift from the current structure where teams are divided into eight groups of four. Instead, the tournament will expand to include 36 teams, all in one league.

This change could be seen as UEFA’s response to the top clubs’ desire for a Super League, a more closed tournament proposed by twelve major clubs. However, the Super League plan was effectively thwarted, leading to the Champions League’s transition to a league game format.

Understanding the Swiss Model

Under the new structure, four new places will be distributed in a specific manner. Two places will go to the leagues with the best performances in Europe, one place to the third place in the fifth-best league in the UEFA ranking (currently the Netherlands), and one place to the “Champions path”, the traditional CL qualification.

Each team will play four games at home and four games away, adding two extra games compared to the current tournament. The eight best teams in the league play will advance directly to the round of 16. The next 16 places on the table will compete for the last eight places in the knockout round via a playoff, resulting in two extra games for teams not directly qualifying.

However, teams finishing below 29th place are out of the tournament and get no new opportunity in the Europa League. This change could lead to teams like Arsenal playing ten European games before any round of 16 matches if they end up in a playoff place.

The Impact of the New Format on Big Clubs

While it seems that the biggest teams are behind the change, making the group stage less exciting and less attractive, the new format ensures more games and therefore greater revenues, especially for big clubs. However, UEFA is under pressure from big clubs, and the greed will not diminish.

Ilkay Gündogan, a current Barcelona player, criticized the new Champions League format in 2021 when he still played for Manchester City. He argued that no one is considering the players with more and more games being scheduled. Gündogan described the new format as the lesser of two evils compared to the Super League.

Changes in Other Leagues

The new model will also be applied to both the Europa League and the Conference League. This change will end teams moving down from, for example, the Champions League to the knockout rounds in the Europa League.

While the Swiss model marks a significant change in the Champions League’s structure, only time will tell whether it successfully meets the expectations and needs of both the clubs and their players.


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