Arsene Wenger criticises plans for new Champions League format

Arsene Wenger has warned that rumoured plans for a new-format Champions League could put the ‘sporting merit’ of the competition at risk.

UEFA’s reported plans would see a ‘single table’ format implemented, rather than the current eight groups of four teams we’re used to seeing.

The change would up the number of sides in the competition from 32 to 36, meaning their would be 225 matches in the competition as opposed to the current 125.

Greater access to the Champions League is the inspiration behind the idea, though the proposed changes have been met with criticism and concerns over fixtures congestion.

Wenger’s warning

Wenger, who is now FIFA’s head of global development, also shot down the idea, expressing concerns over the quality of a new-look competition.

“Look, to make it simple and honest, I would say the clubs always want more money,”  Wenger told beIN Sports. “To get more money, they want more guaranteed games.  The fans want more games of significance, that means they want games with meaning.

“Modern football has to find a compromise between what the clubs want – more money – and what the fans want – simplicity, clarity and competition of meaning.

“In between, you have now the media who start to dictate what should happen, so that will be, honestly, a huge battle in the future.

“Personally, I think the model that is proposed for the modern Champions League, I don’t like it at all.”

“As long as we in the game don’t respect the sporting merit in a logical way, we are not right,

“All people who play top-level competition would say you have to keep the merit of the quality of your performance.”

Jaco Swart, CEO of European Leagues, told the Financial Times’ Business of Football summit on Wednesday: “We think it is too much.

“It is not only the number of matches, but the number of match days it could lead to a shift in value from domestic competition to international competition.”

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