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Ceferin discusses Champions League reforms and proposed ‘week of football’

Aleksander Ceferin has discussed UEFA’s Champions League reform plans and a proposed ‘week of football’ to conclude the tournament.

UEFA have announced plans to reform the Champions League with the tournament set to be expanded from 32 teams to 36 from 2024, the new system including a group stage involving 10 fixtures for participating teams.

 

The plans have been finalised in a bid to appease the request of Europe’s elite for more glamour ties in the competition, whilst another proposal now being floated is a ‘week of football’, following the success of last season’s semi-finals and final being hosted in Lisbon.

Portugal hosted the latter stages as UEFA sought a way to conclude the competition amid the ongoing threat of the pandemic, though Ceferin has now suggested the format could spout a new idea.

“Imagine if four teams come to London and you play the semis and the final,” he said in an interview with the Telegraph. “You play some youth competitions, women’s Champions League, maybe a concert or something. You could connect tickets and put the women’s final in the biggest stadiums.

“Of course then it can only happen in maybe five cities in Europe, no more. Because it has to be a big city to host, I don’t know, 150,000 fans and clubs and everything.”

Ceferin also discussed previous plans to award Champions League places based on historical performances and UEFA’s co-efficient ranking, awarding two places to teams who failed to qualify through their own domestic leagues.

The president has now questioned whether this would be a welcome addition to the laws given the outrage that surrounded the ‘closed shop’ European Super League proposal and says a decision will be made on whether to instead award qualification spots to ‘smaller leagues or countries’.

“After this Super League crashed I have had some talks with the clubs and there are different views,” Ceferin said. “Quite a few clubs now think that it might be better to leave those two positions to the champions of the smaller leagues or countries. But it’s time to discuss and I am personally not sure what would be better.”

UEFA’s club competition committee has also agreed to scrap the away goals rule in European competitions as of next season, a decision Ceferin hopes will lead to more goals and excitement across the tournament.

He said: “There will be more goals, more extra-time and even more penalties.”

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