Champions League

Champions League set for single-match ties starting on 8 August

Europe's elite football competition is set to move to an 'Express' format, with single-match knock-out matches.

Champions League set for single-match ties starting on 8 August
Soeren Stache/dpa Soeren Stache/dpa

The Champions League is set to return from 8 August in an 'Express' format in order to finish the competition which is currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Champions League: new format

A working group made up of UEFA, the European Club Association (ECA) and the domestic European leagues is considering a single-game format from the quarter-final stage, once the last-16 ties remaining to be played have taken place. The competition would then close with a final four tournament to be played in Istanbul. The format has the broad backing of the majority of the parties but will need final approval at UEFA's executive committee meeting on 17 June.

Champions League ties

The Champions League still has the second leg of the following ties to play (first leg result): Juventus-Lyon (0-1), Manchester City-Real Madrid (2-1), Bayern-Chelsea (0-3) and Barcelona-Napoli (1-1).

Atalanta, Leipzig, Atlético and PSG have qualified for the quarter-finals.

Footballers on holiday in September

The draft calendar would see the Europa League start up on 6 August, with the Champions League getting underway again on Saturday 8 August. As planned this would mean delaying the start of the 2020-2021 season, with the players being given their holidays in September. That would mean postponing UEFA's League of Nations international matches scheduled for that month; it's not clear when they could be played.

UEFA's executive committee was scheduled to meet on 27 May, but that meeting has been delayed to 17 June, in order to have the draft calendar completely ready for sign off. There are also now issues with next summer's European Championships (moved from this summer), because three of the 12 host cities are studying whether they need to drop out due to problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Spanish Football Federation has denied reports that the Spanish host city Bilbao is one of the venues considering dropping out.