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UEFA and ECA seek to have UCL games played at weekends

UEFA and ECA seek to have UCL games played at weekends

Javier Albisu

EFE

The proposal would see domestic leagues staged mid-week with Juve's Agnelli and UEFA head Ceferin in favour as the the Premier League and LaLiga oppose the initiative.

UEFA will meet representatives from European clubs on Tuesday to begin discussions over the future of the Champions League and other continental competitions from 2024 onwards, European soccer's governing body said Monday.

Both sides have hinted at extensive changes to European club competitions when a new international calendar comes into force in 2024.

UEFA have stated that that Tuesday's meeting would be a brainstorming session between itself and the European Club Association (ECA), which represents 232 clubs from across the continent.

SOCCER-EUROPA/DRAWSoccer Football - Europa League - Round of 32 Draw - Nyon, Switzerland - December 17, 2018 General view of the Europa League trophy before the draw REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

"There is a meeting tomorrow," UEFA said in a statement to Reuters. "There is nothing secret about this brainstorming session."

UEFA said it would then meet other stakeholders, such as the players and the leagues, in the following months to "exchange ideas before concrete proposals are developed and decisions are made."

After being re-elected in February, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said the European body would work with the ECA to devise new tournaments which would bring a "new dimension" to European football.

ANDREA AGNELLI, JOSEP MARIA BARTOMEU & FLORENTINO PEREZ

Ceferin promised "club competitions that are in keeping with the times, full of excitement and intensity and open."

He said there would be no threat of a breakaway Super League as long as he was UEFA president and Andrea Agnelli -- the president of Juventus -- was chairman of the ECA.

Champions League weekends

A report in the Wall Street Journal on Sunday said that suggestions which could be discussed including staging Champions League matches at weekends and a more closed qualifying system.

Agnelli has previously suggested replacing the current eight groups of four with four groups of eight, which would mean far more games.

European club competitions run in three-year cycles with the current one ending in 2021.

The format for the following 2021-24 cycle was decided last year with the addition of a new third-tier competition in addition to the Champions League and the Europa League.

The Champions League, meanwhile, will maintain the same format introduced in 2018 which controversially saw a reduction in the number of places open to teams from Europe's smaller leagues.

The competition is dominated by a handful of elite clubs and the group stage has been marked by increasingly one-sided matches in the last few years. Last week, English champions Manchester City thumped Bundesliga side Schalke 7-0 in a last 16 second leg to win 10-2 on aggregate.

Some critics say that UEFA's revenue distribution system creates a snowball effect as it is partly based on clubs' historical records - something which favours big clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan.