European Clubs Association Chairman Andrea Agnelli has claimed that a shake-up to the Champions League format is close to being agreed.
Agnelli, who is also Chairman of Italian giants Juventus, has proposed several reforms to UEFA, including a new “Swiss system” format to European football’s biggest competition. This may involve expanding the tournament to 36 teams instead of 32.
As quoted by the Guardian, Agnelli said: “I think we’re very close to my ideal Champions League – I think the Swiss system is beautiful.
“I think it will provide great opportunities for those teams participating in that competition. It will provide the knockouts that are the essence of any competition.
“It’s very, very close to an ideal Champions League. We’re maybe just a couple of weeks away.”
The proposed new format was first used in a chess tournament in Zurich over 100 years ago. However, it has rarely been adopted in elite sport.
The Swiss system would see each team play ten group games against teams seeded in four different pots. The results would give each team a league standing. The top 16 in that league would progress to the knockout stages.
The details are yet to be finalised, but it is believed that teams positioned from 17th to 24th in the table would drop into the Europa League.
The team in first would play the team in 16th in the first knockout round, with the team in second facing the team in 15th, and so on.
The new format could be introduced for the 2024/25 season at the earliest. It would also put an end to the heavily rumoured European Super League.
Agnelli has also called for a restructure of financial fair play, with clubs to be judged on their balance sheet instead of profits and losses. He has also proposed the possibility of banning transfers between Champions League clubs.
“No triple-figures transfers between Champions League participating clubs maybe would [mean] focusing instead on champion players in smaller countries allowing us only to buy players there,” he added.
“These are elements we are discussing but certainly cost control will be one of the biggest challenges in terms of reforms going forward.”
The Champions League returns to our screens tonight. Check out our preview here.