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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin favours Champions League’s 36-team format

The change will see each club play 10 group matches, rather than six, before advancing to a 16-team knock-out system in the second half of the season.

By: Reuters |
May 29, 2021 2:20:46 pm
European Cup, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, Euro cup pandemic, Covid-19Aleksander Ceferin is the president of UEFA. (File)

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has said he favours a Final Four format for the Champions League as it could generate revenues and considerable excitement over an entire week each year.

European football’s governing body revamped its top continental club competition last month by approving a new 36-team format from 2024.

The change will see each club play 10 group games, rather than six, before advancing to a 16-team knock-out system in the second half of the season.

“I’m in favour of a ‘Final 4’ in the Champions League. It could be great and effective in terms of revenue if done right. But everyone has to give their point of view,” Ceferin told French newspaper L’Equipe.

“We are discussing it, but it is not decided. We liked the ‘Final 8’ last year in Portugal.”

Due to months-long interruptions in play because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, UEFA had to reschedule the competition and scheduled the final phase in Portugal.

“But a ‘Final 8’ is over two weeks, and that’s too much. For a ‘Final 4’, after 2024, there are advantages and disadvantages,” added Ceferin.

“On the one hand, it can be a fantastic event with a football week complemented by other events like concerts. But we lose matches, especially at home, for the clubs,” said Ceferin.

By playing the semifinals in one location, teams involved would lose out on revenues had they featured in two legs.

UEFA last month had to fend off an attempt by 12 top European clubs to form a breakaway European Super League.

Manchester City faces Chelsea in the Champions League final in Porto on Saturday. Both teams were among the 12 who failed in their attempt to set up the breakaway league.

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