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Soccer

New Champions League format proposed with Final Four and Week of Football

UEFA are evaluating proposals to play the final games of the Champions League soccer tournament in one single city with single game semifinals.

Update:
UEFA are evaluating proposals to play the final games of the Champions League soccer tournament in one single city with single game semifinals.
Antonio BronicREUTERS

The new Champions League format, announced last year with 36 teams (rather than 32 at the moment) and more games, comes into effect in 2024/2025. One of the other big changes is the expected move to the Swiss System, where the teams play 10 other teams in the first phase, rather than playing in Groups.

UEFA looking at Champions League Final Four

But UEFA is still working on some of the other important details. One, according to The Times, a UK newspaper, is that European soccer’s governing body is keen to bring in a Final Four, in which the semifinals and final will be played in one city over what they are calling a Week of Football, with the semifinals being played in just one game, rather than home and away as at the moment.

The current Champions League semifinals are played over two legs
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The current Champions League semifinals are played over two legsCARL RECINEAction Images via Reuters

Festival of Football

UEFA have been looking at this system for the finale of their flagship tournament since the success of the end of the tournament that took place in Portugal in 2020 with eight teams playing the final games, when the coronavirus pandemic prevented things running as normal.

More news is expected on the proposed changes at UEFA’s Congress to be held in Vienna on 11 May.

Less TV cash for Champions League semis

Although playing just one game for each semifinal would mean lower TV income, UEFA consider this would be more than made up for by the benefits of having all the games in one place.

And the clubs are said to also be keen on the format, believing that it could heighten interest in the end of the tournament. Regarding this point, the relationship between the ECA (European Club Association) and UEFA (or rather between ECA chief Nasser Al Khelaïfi and Aleksander Ceferin, UEFA president) are key. Right now it looks like they are both in favour.

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