UEFA is working on a profound reform of the Champions League that halts the various projects to create a European Super League outside of its tutelage. At the moment there is no defined format, but they are inclined to change the system in the group stage, which would start from 2024 to have four groups of eight teams. The top four of each group would qualify for the round of 16, and the last qualifier of each group would be relegated from the Champions League to the Europa League.
Ceferin, the president of UEFA, feels the Champions League threatened by the voracity of the big European clubs, who insist on multiplying profits by raising prices for TV operators and looking for schedules to place the tournament on other continents with non-European time use. But it is not easy, since in addition to the change of format it would be necessary to change the Champions from Tuesdays and Wednesdays to the weekends, and UEFA does not want to cross that rubicon because it would go against its own partners: the national federations.
In this scenario, the UEFA president has sought as an ally the European Club Association (ECA) chaired by Andrea Agnelli, president of Juventus. Within the ECA itself, which form 237 of the most important clubs in Europe, there is no unanimity of judgment. Some are in favour of a smooth reform of the Champions League and others of a total break with the current format to impose one with promotions and relegations. An intermediate idea is to replace the current classic group stage with a general 32-team ranking, albeit without playing all against all. At that stage, between 8 and 14 games would be played. The top eight would qualify directly for the eighth round and renew the square for the following season’s edition. But, as has been explained, there is still no agreement between all parties.
And all this is precisely what worries Ceferin, who observes that while in his circle discussions continue, other European clubs move forward with speed to create the Super League in the image and likeness of the renewed Club World Cup, the main reason for his disencounter with Infantino, president of FIFA, who from 2021 will host in China a tournament with 24 teams spread over eight groups of three that Ceferin thinks is a challenge to the Champions League and UEFA.