Are we about to see the introduction of a new European competition? It looks that way, as the ‘green light’ has been given to introduce a third tournament. Very few details were given by UEFA, but here is what we know.
Providing it gets approval, the shake-up won’t occur until the 2021/2022 season. It will see the number of teams competing in Europe increased to 96, up from 80. The proposed plan is to reduce the number of teams competing in the Europa League. Currently, 48 teams start out in the Europa League group stage but UEFA plan to reduce this to 32. This would mean 32 teams competing in each of the three tournaments.
Andrea Agnelli, UEFA executive committee member, said: “The current model needs modernising.”
Green Light Given to Third European Competition
Could It Prove to Be a Good Idea?
If done the right way, then yes it can. However, with very few details, no one knows what could happen. A return of the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup may prove popular among fans. The Cup Winners’ Cup – which was scrapped in 1999 – was for domestic champions across Europe. It was a knockout style tournament from the beginning, instead of a group stage.
If it was a return to a similar style tournament, it may prove to be a better incentive for clubs to win domestic tournaments. Currently, in England, the winners of the FA Cup and Carabao Cup receive qualification to the Europa League. However, if the winner has already qualified for Europe then that place goes to the Premier League’s sixth-placed team. In the Cup Winners’ Cup, the domestic runners-up up would get the place. Many fans would most likely favour a return to this.
It would also give clubs from smaller footballing nations a chance to compete. The format is likely to give more places to clubs from places such as Eastern Europe. This is so the Europa League becomes more competitive, instead of being increased to 64 teams.
Is It Just to Increase UEFA’s Revenue?
Many have also speculated that the introduction will just mean more revenue for UEFA. This could prove to be true. Authorities from UEFA are already looking at ‘internet-only’ broadcast deals to generate new revenue. This move would not benefit football, as they already pay for several other ways to watch football.
As more details are released, more fans will comment on whether or not it is a good idea. If the format is done the right way, it could prove successful. We wait and see what the future holds for Europe’s third club competition.