Andrea Agnelli, the chairman of the European Clubs Association, has revealed that an agreement on a new “ideal” Champions League is imminent.
The Juventus chairman has been on record of being in favour of an expanded tournament, in addition to several other high-profile reforms which could have a knock-on effect for the Premier League and would come into effect in 2024.
The Guardian report that UEFA are close to ratifying plans for a 36-team tournament, which would see each team play up to 10 group matches in a ‘Swiss table’ system.
This change would end any threat of a European Super League breakaway, which has been touted for several years, though the prospect of an extended tournament could force the Premier League to reconsider its hectic schedule, with clubs already struggling to meet their current match quotas.
Agnelli is keen for the domestic season to take up two-third of the fixtures calendar, with the one third allowing room for more high-profile European contests.
“I think we’re very close to my ideal Champions League, I think the Swiss system is beautiful,” Agnelli said.
“I think it will provide great opportunities for those teams participating in that competition. It will provide the knockouts that are the essence of any competition. It’s very, very close to an ideal Champions League. We’re maybe just a couple of weeks away.
“My attention for quite a long time has been to make sure we find a solution with Uefa. We had fights with Alex [Uefa’s president, Alexander Ceferin] in the autumn months because we wanted to find the balance between continental and domestic competition. It’s [about] having a balanced competitive landscape.”
“If we look back in time the Champions League had four more games than it has today,” he added.
“I think the balance that we are trying to strike is one-third international [European competition] and two thirds domestic.
“We can take a look at the overall calendar, we have countries like England with a maximum number of games at 53, If I’m not mistaken, Germany is 43 and so is Italy.
“We do think that currently for competitive balance purposes 20 teams in leagues are too many. There is an overall element that could actually be worked out altogether in the interests of everyone.”
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Agnelli is also proposing wide-scale changes to the transfer system that would prevent Champions League clubs from trading with one another, as well as alterations to Financial Fair Play.
“No triple-figures transfers between Champions League participating clubs maybe would [mean] focusing instead on champion players in smaller countries allowing us only to buy players there,” Agnelli said.
“These are elements we are discussing but certainly cost control will be one of the biggest challenges in terms of reforms going forward.”