Leaked documents online have revealed the extent of what UEFA are trying to do within the Champions League setup to make it more of a closed shop.
The organisation are pulling towards a bigger format which would see entrants play 14 games instead of the current 6 in the group stages. It would also not favour winners of lower-ranking leagues as most positions would be held by the elite clubs in the top leagues in Europe. UEFA plan to narrow the parameters in which clubs from smaller leagues can qualify.
Here is an excerpt from the Associated Press news on the subject.
‘Documents seen by The Associated Press propose that 24 of the 32 teams in the 2024-25 group stage would retain their lucrative places the next season regardless of where they finish in national domestic leagues.
‘The documents match the aims of the influential European Club Association (ECA) which is competing for influence at UEFA with the European Leagues umbrella group.
‘The proposal would create eight-team groups kicking off in August, and narrow the entry path for teams from winners of lower-ranking leagues.
‘The system, if approved by UEFA next year, would guarantee at least 14 Champions League games instead of the current six for each club, earning them tens of millions of euros (dollars) in extra revenue from broadcasting and sponsor deals struck by UEFA. The 16-team knockout stage would be retained, with seven further games for the two finalists.’
Celtic along with Ajax and others have been fighting any changes which would see them lose out to the higher ranking leagues. Peter Lawwell and Edwin van der Sar have been heading up the fight back.
UEFA also have plans to make a ‘C’ competition where it would allow lower league clubs a chance to compete amongst each other. At this point, they would fancy Celtic to know their place and be happy with Europa league games or a good run in the new competition.
Nothing has been decided yet but money talks and it looks like clubs like Celtic have a major task trying to change the game for the better.