UEFA drop controversial Champions League qualification ‘leapfrogging’ plan ahead of competition expansion

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UEFA have dropped controversial plans to allow clubs with strong historical records in European competition to leapfrog teams who finish above them domestically.

The initial proposals by UEFA would have meant clubs with poor European records would be not be able to qualify for the Champions League ahead of teams they finish above domestically if they have a better European record.

For example, if Manchester United were to finish sixth one season behind fifth placed West Ham United, due to The Red Devils superior UEFA co-efficient (performance of club in Europe over last five seasons) they would qualify for the Champions League ahead of The Hammers.

However, The Times have reported this proposal has now been dropped, and clubs will no longer be able to ‘leapfrog’ another one.

Teams who underperform domestically will not have an extra advantage in achieving UCL qualification. 

This comes with the looming expansion of the Champions League from 32 to 36 teams.

Currently the competition sees 32 teams compete in four team group games with a guaranteed six games. But the new ‘Swiss format’ will see 36 entered into the competition with at least 10 games for each team, with all of them falling under one massive league table in order to gain qualification into the last 16 knockout rounds.

The Athletic explained the four new slots were yet to be confirmed by the the European Club Association (ECA), but two of them were set to go towards teams who have the best UEFA co-efficient ratings.

Their report clarified that after dropping the leapfrogging idea, under the current proposals a team would need to finish in the next spot outside of typical Champions League qualification, so someone such as Man United or Arsenal would need to at least finish fifth to stand a chance of earning qualification via the co-efficient method.

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