According to the Telegraph (subscription required), Premier League clubs have today discussed proposals that could see six English clubs participate in the Champions League post-2024.
UEFA’s broadcast contracts expire after the 2023/24 European campaigns (UCL and Europa League), after which Europe’s biggest clubs – spearheaded by Real Madrid and Juventus – want an increase in games and a greater share of the revenue, as they see themselves as the biggest clubs around.
The Premier League’s 20 member clubs discussed the use of a ‘Swiss Model’ on Thursday, with no decisions made as of yet, once a clear idea is agreed upon they’ll put this forward to UEFA.
Such a model would see the Champions League increase to a 36-team format, in which clubs would play 10 group games each and then be placed into an overall League Table at the end of the season.
There’d be a slight change to the early knockout stages under a ‘Swiss Model’, the top eight teams would automatically qualify for the Round of 16, with ninth to 24th in playoffs for the other half of spots.
On to the more relevant matter to English clubs regarding the possible participation of six of our teams in Europe’s elite club competition…
The Telegraph report that the plan discussed today would net the Premier League seven spots for European competition, an initial four for the Champions League, two for the Europa League and one as part of the new Europa Conference League – which will begin next season.
England could have six Premier League representatives in the UCL as the proposed plans would allow two clubs outside of the top four to net spots, based on their UEFA co-efficient.
That metric is currently in play and factors historical performance into matters such as seeding.
Landing six clubs in the Champions League would of course depend on which clubs find themselves outside the top four, should the most historical teams (we all know who these are) suffer over the top-flight campaign, they’d have another in.
It’s worth noting that no more than seven English clubs will be allowed to participate in Europe, so in the case of six clubs qualifying for the Champions League under the new eligibility, one team would be cut from the Europa League and we’d have no representative in the Europa Conference League.
Whilst this will come across as exciting news for Premier League fans, it could be difficult to argue for such a format, especially when other leagues with historical success in the UCL like La Liga and Serie A could easily ask for the same – and of course there’s only 36 spots, everyone can’t get extra spots.