As you may know, the Champions League has been apparently changing format for years.
Traditional ‘big clubs’ have long been looking to secure their place at Europe’s top table, and want to see themselves guaranteed a place in the best club competition, regardless of their league position the previous year.
A “European Super League” was discussed, but now, Gazzetta Dello Sport have released the latest plans, and it’s good news for the English Premier League – sort of.
The plans see Europe’s four strongest leagues – the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A – awarded four places each, with the co-efficient table scrapped from the 2018/19 season.
The French and Portuguese leagues would receive two qualification places each, which would seemingly suit the likes of Paris Saint Germain and Benfica, while the Russian league would also take two places. More clubs would be made up from the next best ranked leagues – Turkey, Netherlands, Switzerland, Ukraine and Belgium.
Right now, England, Germany and Spain get four places each, with Italy only taking three spots, but that would change to suit the Italians under the new proposal.
But here’s the interesting bit – the top three from each of these leagues would automatically qualify for the Champions League.
The fourth qualification place would be decided on ‘historical merit’ which basically means if a big club misses out on the top four, they could still be allowed into the competition thanks to their status in Europe.
For example, if Leicester City finished fourth in the league the season before the new rules kicked in and Manchester United finished fifth, the Foxes would be highly unlikely to be allowed into the competition, as they don’t have much European history, whereas United do.
The whole point of the revamp is to keep the so called biggest clubs in Europe’s top competition, which would protect the likes of AC Milan, Liverpool and Man Utd, who have struggled to qualify for the competition in recent years.
It’s great news for Liverpool though, as their five European Cup wins help them maintain their status as one of Europe’s biggest clubs, and would help them keep their place if they struggle in the league.
But it could be bad news for Arsenal, who could finish in their beloved fourth place without qualifying for the Champions League the following season.
Looks like European football is set to ensure the rich get richer, while the rest of the so called ‘smaller teams’ are left behind.