The big European teams want to institute a radical new system to the biggest club soccer tournament in the world. To better ensure the elite teams get the most revenue from the UEFA Champions League, a knockout round of 32 instead of a group stage is being proposed along with two groups of eight teams for the final 16 teams. Winners of those groups will go to the Champions League Final.
UEFA is looking at shaking up the Champions League to combat shrinking worldwide audiences and interest when lesser known teams like Gent and BATE Borisov are in the group stage.
Someone close to the situation told The Times, “The Champions League is losing audiences and interest lately — you have seen that at games like Real Madrid versus BATE Borisov. The group system in the future needs to ensure that there are more interesting games and less uninteresting ones — if you have two groups of eight, every team in these groups have 14 very good games.”
The Daily Telegraph has said that German, Italian and Spanish teams are behind this idea because they see England’s massive worldwide TV rights deal and they are looking for their own revenue generator. Whether or not they realize that this new format will also give English teams this same revenue stream as well as their domestic league TV deal, I don’t know. But this could make the rich even richer when it comes to the big EPL teams.
It is important to note that any changes made to the format of the Champions League will not take effect until 2018 at the earliest. So, there is time for any and all sides to discuss possible changes or decide to keep the current format the way it is.