D b a
Tuesday 30th March 2021
Fernando Caro, chairman of the German football club Bayer Leverkusen, described the planned reforms in the European Champions League as a “compromise” that would prevent the establishment of a closed tournament under the name of the European Super League.
The European Football Association (UEFA) looks set to approve on Wednesday reforms that include increasing the number of European Champions League teams from 32 to 36 teams starting in 2024, as the number of group stage matches will increase while qualifying teams continue to be determined through their positions in the local league competitions.
In statements to the German news agency (DPA), before the meeting of the executive committee of UEFA, Caro said that no one should forget “where we came from.”
He explained, “Two years ago, there were ideas and demands to establish a closed league and to hold (European) matches at the end of the week, and we succeeded in preventing this, and it seems that this came through our strong position in the Bundesliga which is unanimous.”
He added: “It was important for us that qualification for the European Championship continued through the domestic league competitions, and that weekends remain reserved for matches in the domestic league competitions.”
He continued, “It seems that this matter has become guaranteed, and it seems that it has also become a foregone conclusion to reduce the meaningless matches in the tournament in the group stage, according to the current system.”
According to the proposed new system, which is known as the “Swiss model”, all teams compete in one group in the league system, but not all of them will meet with each other, but the confrontations will be determined by the results of the previous season.
After that, the championship competitions continue with the current system, with the play-off rounds starting with the round of sixteen.
Caro expressed his admiration for the previous tournament system, which is the European Champion Clubs Cup, the European Cup for Cup Winners’ Clubs and the European Cup, which had witnessed all teams participating in the knockout round system from the start, but this is no longer realistic.
“Of course we must immediately listen to the needs of the fans and bear in mind that the Bundesliga is based heavily on their fans and the stadium culture,” Caro said.
He added, “But we must also accept that football has become a business estimated at billions of dollars, and that interests differ between different countries, as well as in league and club competitions.”
He continued: “This needs to be limited, and thus finally reaching a compromise solution acceptable to all parties.”