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The Gravy Train Rolls On

22 Apr, 2022
written by Gary Killington

On Wednesday this week, UEFA confirmed changes to the Champions League format from 2024/25 as they agreed to proposals from the European Club Association (ECA) executive board and the UEFA Competitions Committee.

The new proposals are expected to be finally ratified on May 10th, but they have taken a slightly different shape to those made public a few weeks ago. It had been suggested that clubs with a superior 10-year coefficient score would be able to “jump over” teams with a lesser score and take their place in the Champions League, even if they finished below that other club.

The latest agreement is the Champions League will be opened to 36 clubs rather than 32, and I can confirm the greedy 6 still have a chance of grabbing one of the extra places based on their European coefficient history, however it will be based upon 5 years and not 10 as originally proposed.

Here is how they could qualify for one of the additional 4 positions:

  • Position 1 – The club ranked 3rd in the championship of the association ranked 5th in the UEFA national association ranking
  • Position 2 – A domestic champion that would usually enter the qualifying rounds
  • Positions 3 & 4 – The final 2 places will be available to the clubs with the highest Coefficient across all UEFA countries over the last 5 years if they qualify for the Champions League qualification phase, Europa League or Europa Conference League.

So the proposal has changed shape dramatically from what the greedy 6 and their mates asked for, but does it mean the danger has passed? Well, no.

Ronan Evain, the Executive Director of Football Supporters Europe, says the governing body must decide whether to appease Europe’s big clubs or play its role as a regulator. He said: “The risk of this reform is that it’s progressive, it’s opening the door to coefficient seats now and then God knows what happens in four years’ time. It’s death by a thousand cuts. That has been the strategy of the big clubs for years – gaining a little bit of terrain progressively. We would hope UEFA will put an end to this so that it’s definitely off the table.”

I think Evain is absolutely right, if UEFA concede ground now and set a precedent, the situation will be exacerbated in the years to come until the greedy 6 want they ultimately wanted – a guaranteed ticket aboard the gravy train.

Is Evain right, should we be worried?

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