By Simon Evans
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – European soccer’s governing body UEFA will make a final decision on its proposed changes to the Champions League on April 19 as talks continue about the details of the plan for an expanded competition.
UEFA’s executive committee will on Wednesday be given an update on the negotiations with clubs and leagues about the plans for a new-look competition which will take effect from 2024.
Some media reports suggested a definitive vote would take place on Wednesday but UEFA said: “Any official decision in this respect will only be made at the next UEFA Executive Committee meeting on 19 April, in order to finalise ongoing discussions.”
UEFA’s Congress, a day later, would then give its approval to the plan, drawing a close to the talks on the format.
Decisions over the financial distribution could be left until after the new competition’s structure has been signed off on.
UEFA has proposed an increase to 36 from 32 teams, and an overhaul of the group stage into a single table rather than the current groups of four clubs.
Teams would play 10 matches each in the group stage rather than the six they currently play and a playoff round would also be introduced before the last 16.
The new format would see 100 extra matches in total and if agreed upon would almost certainly kill the speculation about a possible breakaway Super League.
Two of the extra slots are earmarked for the highest ranked teams in UEFA’s ‘coefficient’ rankings based on the past five years of performances, opening the likelihood of the top leagues having more than their current four slots.
The European Leagues organisation, which represents the continent’s domestic championships, has argued those slots should be open for teams from smaller leagues.
The European Club Association, which is made up of the top teams, has backed the plans and also wants to see greater involvement of clubs in the management and governance of the Champions League.
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