Creating a new 64 Team UEFA Champions League

The UEFA Champions & Europa League can certainly be better. No one will disagree that the biggest prize in club football is the UEFA Champion League Trophy and it’s extremely important to clubs and players to participate in the tournament. The drama and passion witnessed on European nights is unrivaled. Because we love football / soccer, and want to see the best teams in the biggest matches, we’re proposing a change to the status quo.

The current UEFA Champions League and Europa League format simply doesn’t work anymore. Big clubs are torn apart physically and financially if they fail to qualify. Players bounce around like pinballs. The Europa League is irrelevant. A third of the group stage clubs have no chance, while league champions Juventus and Montpellier didn’t play a single European game. A new system, can be more lucrative, promote the sport, and produce a better product and more exciting matches for the fans.

Below are the highlights followed by a more detailed proposal. If you think the Champions League needs an overhaul, share this, like this, tweet this, retweet, anything to spread the word. We’re hoping to generate enough buzz that UEFA and some of major clubs takes notice.

Here’s a summary of the proposed system.

UEFA Champions League

64 team group stage, the top 21 leagues all get team(s) in automatically.  Top three leagues have six participates, the next two leagues five teams, league 6 &7 four teams, and so on. Leagues 21-35 would meet in simple qualifying to fill the last 8 spots. The top 10 leagues get 44 of the 64 teams in automatically. Automatic bids for the top 21 leagues. This would add stability to major clubs in top leagues. It also should scale back some of the drastic switching of clubs by players. This gives us a group stage of 16 groups of four, playing matches Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays. 32 teams qualify for the knock out round.

The knockout round follows the same format currently, expect with an extra round. It would be very exciting to sit on February 1st with 32 teams still in the hunt for the UCL trophy. Excitement and ratings would increase.

UEFA Europa League

Starts in January with 32 Teams16 third place teams from the UCL group, and 6 from qualifying. Final 10 teams, are clubs currently excelling in top leagues. If you’re currently leading any of the top 10 leagues on January 1st, but did not participate in the UCL, you’re in. Any remaining spots would be filled by teams near the top in the best leagues. This would mean teams like Juventus and Montpellier would have seen European action.

Here are the complete details.

UEFA Champions League

64 team Group Stage with a Simple Qualifying Round – There are currently four rounds of qualifying (crazy), this makes it too difficult for clubs execute a transfer strategy. With this new system teams could now execute a summer strategy. Doubling the size of the group stage give more teams and even leagues a piece of the sports’ biggest pie. Since you increasing the pool with a more good clubs for major leagues, the quality of play should actually increase. Case in point if Chelsea would have lost last season’s final, they would have missed the Champions League this season.

Automate entrants group stage:

Only take participates form the top 35 European leagues. We could use some type of system identical or very close to the current UEFA Coefficient System. 6 teams (Spain, England, Germany) 5 teams (Italy Portugal), 4 teams (France, Netherlands) 3 teams (Ukraine, Russia) 2 teams (Greece, Belgium) Leagues 12-21 would get one automatic spot. The next seven teams would come from a playoff between leagues 22 to 35. #22 would play home and away against #35, #23 v #34 and so on, with the winner getting in.  The final spot would go to winner of a four team playoff between 2nd place teams of leagues, 12, 13, 14, & 15th.

Right away you get big clubs from the best leagues in using this format. For example Atlético Madrid, Levante, Tottenham, New Castle, Bayer Leverkusen, Stuttgart, Napoli, Lazio, Sporting Lisbon, Maritimo, Lyon, PSV Eindhoven and AZ Alkmaar would all be in this year. Even smaller leagues like Romania, Croatia, Poland, Belarus would all have a grantee group stage club this year. Plus instead of a day (Thursday) of Europa League in the first half you get an extra day of Champions’ League group stage action, which would surely will more lucrative. It should also give clubs more solid financial standings, and lead to fewer players jumping clubs every chance they get.

Knock-Out Round

The knockout round simply expands an extra round, by going from 16 to 32 teams. Think about how much better the holidays will be for 16 sets of clubs and their fans, knowing they still have a chance at European glory in the in the new year.

This is simply much better for the fans and the players.

UEFA Europa League

A new 32 team Europa Tournament, that will be more interesting and entertaining than the current format.  The key part of this new system, brings in clubs who are currently dominating their domestic leagues, but missing the UCL. No more will we see a major club dominating a domestic league, but missing out on Europe.

Automate entrants

The 16 third place UCL group stage finishers. Leagues #12-#35 would see their 2nd place squads compete for 4 spots during September to November. Leagues #36 and below would compete in a qualify tournament for 2 spots.

The Final 10 Europa League teams would come from the “roller system” where if a team is leading one of the top 10 leagues as of January 1st, and did not participate in the group stage of the UCL they’re in.  The remaining vacancies would be filled by 2nd place teams starting with the top league then going down the line to #11, if all places are not filled, then again start with the top league and take the 3rd place team. If we get to the 3rd place team in 11th ranked league, and the 10 spots are not filled, then we start with League #12 and take the top team and “roll” down the list.

If a good club that had one bad season, this gives them something to target immediately into their next campaign. For example clubs like Liverpool and Inter, who would not currently qualify via this system, could have a good opening half and earn a place in the Europa Tournament in the second half of the season. Basically this 32 club tournament will give more hope to fans, and will also make sure the best teams have a chance for a trophy, something that should only increase the excitement of the tournament.

Conclusion

Overall this system makes more sense, by adding more stability to clubs, and most importantly it doubles the amount of clubs in football / soccer’s most important showcase. Simple is better, as the common fan can understand this system, and the clubs will have more direction in making plans. We warn UEFA that if they continue the current format, other continents like Asia and possibility North America might build better systems, thus creating better and richer clubs and eventually surpassing UEFA. UEFA is either going to be proactive or put themselves in jeopardy of eventually being overtaken by a more stable structure.

The new system will be more lucrative for UEFA and the clubs, not mention it should lead to a better product and more exciting matches which will benefit the fans.  Again we ask everyone to help share this, like this, tweet this (use #newUCL hashtag), retweet, anything to spread the word.

  • Andrey

    Insightful idea, but one that won’t really work in practice. Far too many games, and the prestige of the competition will be devalued if so many teams can easily qualify automatically.

    Fewer teams and fewer games generally leads to greater entertainment, as exemplified by the Euros in years gone by. Teams are left with no choice but to go for a win from the first game onwards.

    Also, I’m afraid any argument in favour of protecting big clubs from financial collapse due to their own mismanagement is ludicrous.

  • Falckalex

    Horrible idea that would only make the european football scene less interesting as the top clubs would even easier vacuum the smaller clubs for their top players.

  • RizzoMB

    Well I disagree, I feel like this helps clubs outside the biggest 10, since your adding more clubs to soccer’s most lucrative pot.  Can you identify a club that this would hurt?