Premier League clubs have discussed complex proposals to expand the Champions League, with plans including potentially increasing the number of English clubs in the competition to six.
Several proposals to revamp European football’s leading club competitions have been put forward in recent years with the continent’s wealthiest sides keen for increased numbers of lucrative glamour ties, with the latest plans promising to increase the number of teams in the Champions League from 32 to 36.
The new plans, which would be introduced from 2024, would include teams playing 10 group games with fixtures based on seeding and teams placed in a league table from 1st to 36th to determine qualification to the knockout stages.
According to the Telegraph, however, one key proposal includes the qualification of teams for the competition based on UEFA co-efficient, giving sides who fail to qualify for the competition domestically a chance based on historical performance.
Under the plans the Premier League would retain four teams qualifying automatically through their league finish, though teams who finish fifth to seventh ‘could see their co-efficient boost them up to a Champions League place’.
Teams who finish outside of the European places in the Premier League will not be included, but the two sides who qualify for the Europa League and the one club included in the new Uefa Europa Conference League – a competition which will be launched from next season – could be handed a chance at Europe’s top table.
Any side that is boosted into the Champions League will not be replaced in either the Europa League or UEFA Europa Conference League by another domestic side, and Premier League clubs are yet to make a vote on the proposals.
The plans are likely to prove divisive once more with a clear design to maintain the status of the game’s richest clubs, though the proposals could appease Europe’s elite and help end the threat of a breakaway European Super League.
UEFA are aware they will have to make changes to appease Europe’s biggest clubs with their broadcast contracts set to expire in 2024, though the governing body have been joined by FIFA in fighting against the threat of independent breakaway competitions.
FIFA have stated that any player who plays for a club in a potential breakaway competition will be banned from appearing at major international tournaments including the World Cup and European Championships.