The Times reveals that UEFA and ECA, the Association of European Football Clubs, are close to agreeing in the changes of the format of the Champions League.
In the new format, clubs would play six more rounds of the second group stage during the CL season. This would be played after the first stage in groups. This is most likely a way is to increase the already high number of matches in this competition. But they are considering some other models of adding more matches during the season.
UEFA returns the Champions League as it was until 2003. Returning the second group stage, the system would be returned as it was until 2003. Then, in the second stage, we can see four groups with four clubs in each. This was later replaced by a knockout phase starting from the eighth-finals.
Under the current system, the finalists from the group to the finals play 13 matches. Under the new system, with two group stages, the clubs that reach the end would play 17 matches.
To achieve this, it is necessary to find a place in an already overcrowded calendar. This will have a big and bad impact on domestic competitions, such as the Cup or in the English League Cup. Due to the additional number of Champions League games, the best clubs will play with reserve or young teams in the future from start to finish. Prestigious and cult competitions will become completely irrelevant.
The second phase of the Champions League introduced for avoiding unpleasant surprises
They will add the second stage to avoid in the future unpleasant surprises for UEFA and the budget of the richest clubs. With the change in the competition, the teams that finish the group in third place would continue in the Champions League. Now they would go in the second group stage.
Of course, UEFA will increase the number of matches in the Champions League. They say that this will help small clubs. But it is clear that this is just another instrument of ensuring that the most powerful and the richest clubs can’t drop out of the CL.
Turning the knockout phase and quarter-finals into two groups with four clubs is another idea of a redesign of the Champions League. This will bring even more duels with top clubs. But also the richest world clubs would have a hard job of leaving the Champions League. With these changes, we can only expect that we will see more Soccer10 matches. Also, we will always see the same clubs in the fight for the trophy.