New Format for UEFA competitions
May 23 '96
Finally, some good news from UEFA to, at least temporarily, alleviate
suspicions that the organization is being completely governed by
In today's meeting, as an obvious sop to the less successful
footballing nations, UEFA allowed for the possibility of the
re-admission of the champions of all member nations to the European
Champions Cup in 1997-98 - 3 years after half of them were excluded.
The main difference in the new proposals is that the champions from
countries ranked 25-48 in the UEFA
Rankings will be re-admitted to the competition, albeit to a
preliminary round also involving countries ranked 17-24. This means
that every domestic champion has at least a nominal chance of reaching
the money-spinning Champions League stage of
the competition, which will be extended to 24 teams.
The following is the probable make-up of the 1997-98 competition:
32 Champions from Countries ranked 17-48
16 winners from Preliminary Round
8 Champions from Countries ranked 9-16
8 favoured teams from Countries ranked 1-8
16 winners from Qualifying Round
8 Champions from Countries ranked 1-8
6 Winners and 2 Runners-up from 6 groups in CL
Of course, as happened this year, if the defending champion is not
also its association's domestic champion, it will enter the League
automatically, thus pushing one club out of each round (as happened
this year to
|APOEL and Club
Brugge this year as a result of Juventus's success). It is
clear the idea of re-introducing the champions from countries 25-48 is
a compromise between the current format and the recent controversial
proposals (see below) to allow favoured teams from the top 8
nations to take part regardless of whether they win their domestic
leagues or not.
Member federations have been asked to consider this new format and
approve the idea, probably by July this year. UEFA could then put the
final seal on the plan in August.
May 22 '96
In a meeting of its executive committee tomorrow, UEFA will approve
the expansion in the 1997-98 season of the Champions' League to 24
teams to allow 1 club each from Europe's eight top-ranked nations to
take part even if they have not won their domestic titles in the
previous year. For more, click here.
March 21 '96
The only major change to next year's European Cup is that the eight losers in the preliminary round will be given automatic places in the UEFA Cup. The other changes detailed below will not take affect next year.
February 7 '96
At the Conference on the Future of European Football, a meeting
between UEFA and Europe's top clubs held in Geneva today, it was
agreed to dramatically change the structure of UEFA's 3 European club
competitions. Foremost among the changes is the commitment to increase
the number of teams taking part in the European
Champions Cup from 24 to 32, Cup Winners
Cup from 32 to 64 respectively and also to enlarge the UEFA Cup. This will allow 8 of the stronger
footballing nations to enter more than one team in the former 2 -
their champion (resp. cup winner) and one other team (see
below). Another change will allow losing teams in the Preliminary
Round of the Champions League to get another chance at Euro glory by
gaining entry into the expanded UEFA Cup. The changes are seen as a
compromise between UEFA's wishes and the emerging super-clubs'
apparent wishes for some kind of Super League.
A number of details are unsure as yet. They include
Such issues will be addressed at a UEFA meeting in March. However, FIFA have expressed
their opposition to the changes. More details can be found in the
- When the changes will take effect - Lennart Johansson,
UEFA's president, has indicated that the changes should be made as
soon as possible - which, given already existing commitments, could
allow the changes to occur in the 1997-98 season.
- Which non-champion teams will take part. It is almost definite
that the 8 countries will be the top 8 in the UEFA Coefficients
table. And the team which each of these countries send forward along
with their champions will probably be based on a combination of the
individual team's domestic and European records over a period of years
- between 5 (as the English clubs are proposing) and 10.
The pre-meeting hype:
Reports on the Summit
Reactions to the Summit
© 1994-97 Colm Ó Riain