Tuesday, April 20, 2021
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Home World Reform of the Champions League: The Big Bloat

Reform of the Champions League: The Big Bloat


The Champions League should get even bigger. Above all, the big clubs that are used to success should benefit. Fans protest against this.

Silent protest: The fans are outside, their protest is inside Photo: Simon / imago

BERLIN taz | “The house of European football is characterized by solidarity and togetherness, by fair play and sporting competition. That’s why it’s not just about the interests of the top clubs from a few countries, but about the interests of the clubs, leagues, national teams and, last but not least, the football fans in all 55 European national associations. ”Rainer Koch said that very nicely in October of last year .

The Vice President of the German Football Association was quoted with this sentence on the association’s website when there was once again speculation that the big clubs in Europe could bid farewell to UEFA with a Superduper League. The European Football Union, in whose executive Rainer Koch has a place, saw itself under pressure. She set out to reform her premium product, the Champions League. On Wednesday, the executive should decide on it.

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Fan initiatives in Germany are mobilizing against the plans that are supposed to generate even more money through more games in the Champions League. In front of the office of the Bavarian Football Association in Munich, a poster was put up in good time before the meeting, with which the fans remind Rainer Koch of his sentence from October.

Among them the demand: “Let words follow deeds – reject European Cup reform!” Also “Pro Fans”, a network that many curve fans in Germany organize, rejects in a statement what the Uefa is planning. “The reform does not promote the broader participation of football nations in the top competition, but on the contrary, the even greater isolation of a closed elite,” it says.

Tight schedule

Uefa’s plan envisages increasing the number of participants from the current 32 to 36 clubs. The group stage of the Champions League should be dropped. All teams should play ten games, the results of which are included in a single table. So that there are no too big problems for the big teams, four lottery pots are filled according to a seeding list, from which the games are then drawn. The best eight of the 36 table qualify directly for the round of 16. The clubs from ninth to 24th place play off the remaining round of 16 participants. Instead of 125 games as before, 225 games would be needed to determine the Champions League winner. 100 more games!

This point of reform is likely to lead to major discussions in the executive branch. In England, where 20 clubs play in the Premier League, which also play for the League Cup and the FA Cup, no match dates could be found. And in the Bundesliga, the winter break, which has already become very short, could be omitted entirely in order to beat the game plan.

Nevertheless, it is expected that Rainer Koch will approve the reform plans. The English association, on the other hand, might prefer the compromise proposal brought up by the European football league, the European Leagues. After this, only 64 more games would be played.

The association, to which 37 leagues in Europe belong, would also like to stipulate that 5 percent of the income generated will be distributed through the associations to clubs that do not qualify for the Champions League. They also want three of the four additional places in the competition to be awarded to national champions. The Uefa model, on the other hand, provides for the places to be allocated over a ten-year period.

This would allow clubs that are not doing so well in the league to qualify for the Champions League because they are among the best in the ten-year standings. Liverpool FC, which is currently in seventh place in the current Premier League season, would be qualified for the Champions League under such a regulation. This is another building block of the reform that will primarily benefit the established clubs.

No wonder that Bayern Munich supports the renovation plans. Board member Oliver Kahn said two weeks ago in the trade magazine Kicker: “The current proposal is a very balanced compromise. It’s an attractive sporting mode. ”He didn’t mention that the compromise was only necessary because Bayern had threatened to leave for a Super League.

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