The proposals for a new Champions League format, which is set be implemented from 2024, look likely to be signed off on April 19.
A decision was due to be made yesterday, but commercial deals were reportedly behind the confirmation being pushed back.
Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli had said earlier in March that he expected a decision to be “maybe a couple of weeks away“.
These discussions have been going on for some time, garnering mixed reactions from the world of football. So what will the new Champions League format look like, and how could it affect English clubs?
What is the proposed new Champions League format?
The main change under the new Champions League proposals will be the scrapping of the group stage phase.
Instead, teams will play 10 games against differing strengths of opposition, with the results used to form a league table. That table will be used to determine which sides qualify for the next stage.
The top eight will progress automatically, whilst the teams placed ninth to 24th will face a play-off phase.
To accommodate these changes, the number of teams involved in the competition will increase from 32 to 36.
Two of the four extra entries will be classed as ‘wildcards’ and will represent teams with the highest UEFA co-efficient, rather than being awarded on league placing alone.
That would therefore suit the elite clubs in Europe, who will have an opportunity to qualify even if they have a poor season.
What will this mean for English clubs?
Because of the additional four games for each side, 19 matchdays are required to be played instead of the usual 13.
That causes a headache for the English authorities, given the lack of space in an already congested domestic calendar.
BBC reported earlier in the month that concerns had been raised over the future of the EFL Cup.
Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish and EFL chairman Rick Parry led the complaints over the new format.
One option for the EFL could be to take a similar approach to the competition as its Scottish equivalent in terms of scheduling for the cup.
The Scottish League Cup normally begins in July – therefore essentially becoming part of pre-season – in a group stage format, with 16 teams remaining by the time that is concluded in August.
The Women’s League Cup also has a similar format, with their group stages normally starting in August or September.
In terms of the ‘wildcard’ entries, England would likely take one of the two slots.
Based on the current Premier League standings, seventh-placed Liverpool would be in line to join the competition if it began next season. They have a higher UEFA coefficient than West Ham and Tottenham ahead of them.
Which countries top the UEFA coefficient rankings?
Currently, England and Spain are joint top of the UEFA coefficient rankings.
Behind them are Italy, Germany and France.
The numbers are based on the results of each association’s clubs in the five previous Champions League and Europa League seasons.
In terms of club rankings, England are currently leading the way with 136.5 points, ahead of Spain.
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