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New Champions League format in doubt after extra places row

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Liverpool v Chelsea: UEFA Super Cup

The proposed Champions League revamp has been put in doubt after arguments over who gets the additional qualifying spots.

UEFA have been seeking to overhaul Europe’s biggest club competition in plans that will expand the tournament from 32 teams to 36 and add an extra 100 fixtures to the calendar.

The new plans would also change the group stage entirely, adopting the ‘Swiss system’ first used in a Zurich chess tournament over a century ago.

The system has never been adopted in football before, but European Clubs Association Chairman Andrea Agnelli has described it as his “ideal Champions League”.

However, the proposals have hit a stumbling block, with the main point of contention being the additional four qualifying spots.

According to the Telegraph, two of the extra spots would be allocated based on a club’s European competition history.

This would almost guarantee the likes of Liverpool and Real Madrid qualification for the Champions League, regardless of how they perform throughout the season.

New Champions League format in doubt after extra places row
Liverpool’s past Champions League triumphs could secure them automatic qualification for the tournament

The new plans have also brought about question marks over the schedules for the domestic competitions. The additional games would require four more matchdays, which could impact competitions like the League Cup.

The ‘Swiss system’ is a format that would see every qualified team placed into one league. Each team would play ten group stage games against teams seeded in four different pots.

From those ten group games, each team would get a league standing, with the top 16 qualifying for the knockout rounds.

The team who finished first in the group stage would face the team in 16th in the round of 16, with the second-placed team playing the team in 15th, and so on.

It is also believed that the teams who finished from 17th to 24th would be relegated to the Europa League.

If approved, the new format could be introduced as early as the 2024/25 season. It would also end speculation of a European Super League.

Read also: New Champions League format set to be agreed “within weeks”.

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