Skip to main content

Revamp of UEFA competitions up for discussion

November 28, 2012 -- Updated 1552 GMT (2352 HKT)
The European Champions League, won by Chelsea in 2012, is currently a 32-team competition.
The European Champions League, won by Chelsea in 2012, is currently a 32-team competition.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • European Champions League could be expanded to include 64 teams
  • UEFA president Michel Platini says a decision on format of competitions to be made in 2014
  • New proposals could see the second-tier Europa League scrapped
  • The Europa League replaced the UEFA Cup in 2009

(CNN) -- UEFA has exchanged "initial thoughts" with Europe's top clubs about revamping its two major competitions.

One idea up for discussion is to double the European Champions League in size to include 64 teams as part of a proposal which would see the second-tier Europa League scrapped.

"We exchanged initial thoughts, but the discussions are to follow," a spokesman for the European Club Association (ECA), which represents 207 European clubs, told CNN in a statement. "For the time being there's nothing concrete.

"As a principle, ECA is happy with the competition structure as it is," added the spokesman. "However, we are open to discuss changes or improvements in light of the 2015-18 competition cycle. We will get together with UEFA at some point to discuss."

The Europa League has become very much the poorer relation of the two competitions with Europe's governing body earning about £800m more from the Champions League.

And while Chelsea made £49m by winning the Champions League in 2012, Europa League winners Atletico Madrid earned just £8.5m in prize money.

"We're discussing it," UEFA president Michel Platini told French newspaper Ouest France. "We will make a decision in 2014. Nothing is decided yet.

"There is an ongoing debate to determine what form the European competitions will have between 2015 and 2018."

Read: Football grapples with anti-Semitism storm

Champions League means big money
Roberto Di Matteo's tenure as Chelsea manager came to an end after Tuesday's 3-0 defeat to Juventus. Di Matteo was sacked despite leading Chelsea to European Champions League and English FA Cup glory just six months earlier. Roberto Di Matteo's tenure as Chelsea manager came to an end after Tuesday's 3-0 defeat to Juventus. Di Matteo was sacked despite leading Chelsea to European Champions League and English FA Cup glory just six months earlier.
Standing alone
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
>
>>
Roberto Di Matteo\'s time at Chelsea Roberto Di Matteo's time at Chelsea
Lionel Messi, center, celebrates with Barcelona teammates Cesc Fabregas, left, and Xavi Hernandez after matching Pele's 75 goals in a calendar year. Lionel Messi, center, celebrates with Barcelona teammates Cesc Fabregas, left, and Xavi Hernandez after matching Pele's 75 goals in a calendar year.
Messi magic
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
>
>>
Messi moves past Pele milestone Messi moves past Pele milestone

Formerly known as the the UEFA Cup, the Europa League has been much-maligned since it was rebranded in 2009.

A prolonged qualification process means a team reaching the Europa League final might have played as many as 20 games, in addition to domestic fixtures.

Breakaway "Super League"

Often high-profile clubs take the decision to play second-string teams in the competition, preferring to focus on their domestic league and the chance of qualifying for the Champions League.

Earlier this season, UEFA asked managers and players to refer to the Europa League as "prestigious", "rich in heritage" and "dramatic".

In the Ouest France interview, former French international Platini also dismissed the idea of Europe's biggest football clubs, such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester United, forming a breakaway "Super League".

"It's a question that is regularly brought up," said the UEFA president. "I can't see how it could work outside the UEFA framework. Who will referee them? In what stadiums will they play?"

Read: Time for football to get tough on racist abuse?

Meanwhile Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis is to join the ECA's executive board after David Gill, CEO of the Gunners' Premier League rivals, decided to stand down from the European club organization.

Gazidis will replace Gill on the UEFA Professional Football Strategy Council, with the United executive concentrating on his candidacy for election to the UEFA Executive Committee in the coming year.

"I am pleased to welcome Ivan Gazidis on the ECA executive board," ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in a statement.

"His experience and distinct football knowledge will add a lot of value to ECA and European club football as a whole," added the German international striker, who is also chairman of Bayern Munich.

"At the same time, I would like to thank David Gill for his invaluable contribution to ECA over the last three years,"

"On behalf of the ECA Executive Board, I wish him all the best for his future professional and personal life."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
The U.S. government recognizes Kosovo, as do most European states, but getting football's ruling bodies to play ball has proved harder.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 1504 GMT (2304 HKT)
National heroes don't always belong to one country. Ask France's World Cup hero Patrick Vieira, who is rediscovering his roots.
CNN's John Sinnott on the quiet Cambridge graduate behind Liverpool's resurgent campaign.
May 30, 2014 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
They are the dispossessed -- stateless, and unrecognized by football's ruling body. But these teams will still play at their own World Cup.
Louis van Gaal will be a perfect fit for Manchester United the club, business and brand, says CNN's Patrick Snell.
May 19, 2014 -- Updated 1924 GMT (0324 HKT)
There's a new force in Spanish football -- and Atletico Madrid's ascendance is sharply contrasted by the fall from power of Barcelona.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Rubber bullets, drones and FBI-trained riot police. Welcome to Brazil's 2014 World Cup -- will protests overshadow football's showpiece event?
May 9, 2014 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
The former England international, who famously kicked a banana off the pitch 27 years ago, says education is the key to tackling racism.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1603 GMT (0003 HKT)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 01: Neymar of Barcelona celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on April 1, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
The Brazilian star's first season in Spain may have spluttered along, but the 22-year-old says he'll be firing on all cylinders at the World Cup.
April 30, 2014 -- Updated 1715 GMT (0115 HKT)
Former Soviet footballer Sergei Baltacha traveled from the land of the hammer and sickle to join The Tractor Boys and in doing so broke new ground.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 0931 GMT (1731 HKT)
Brazil's Dani Alves arrived at Barcelona from Sevilla in 2008 and he has gone on to make over 180 appearances for the club.
Villarreal football supporter who threw a banana at Barcelona's Dani Alves during league match handed a life ban by the La Liga club.
ADVERTISEMENT