European football chiefs are reportedly planning to expand the Champions League, which could cause repercussions for domestic football with the EFL Cup a potential ‘casualty’.
Discussions have taken place regarding adding additional fixtures into European football’s premier competition, football leader’s currently deliberating a change in format to the Champions League group stages or adding an additional round-robin phase.
According to The Times, the plans involving expanding the competition by an additional four fixtures, though the biggest difficulty in moderating the tournament is finding space in an already congested football calendar.
The plans place the future of the EFL Cup in serious doubt, with the proposals from Europe’s elite set to coincide with the end of the EFL Cup’s £595m television rights with Sky Sports in 2024, with the report suggesting that the EFL Cup could become a tournament for those not involved in European competition.
Rick Parry, the new chairman of the EFL, admitted before Christmas that the future of the Carabao Cup was a ‘concern’, and those concerns could soon be intensified should expansion plans for the Champions League be announced, which could come as soon as March.
The League Cup has come under increasing pressure in recent seasons, so far resisting plans to abandon its two-legged semi-final format, though the latest plans from Europe are likely to be the tournament’s biggest threat since its formation in 1960, with weeks currently set aside for domestic cup competition likely to be targeted for the expanded format of the Champions League.
Expansion plans are likely to receive a mixed reception from top-level managers, with player burn-out already a huge concern amongst coaches currently juggling a hectic fixture schedule.
Earlier this season Liverpool opted to field an entire youth side for their EFL Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa, having been scheduled to play two fixtures in the space of 24 hours on two different continents due to commitments at the Club World Cup.