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New Champions League format could have major transfer implications


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A revised Champions League format could be rubber-stamped inside the next couple of weeks. 

The European Club Association (ECA) have been discussing the new format of the competition at their 25th general assembly.

ECA president Andrea Agnelli has claimed that the 'Swiss model' could bring with it a transfer revolution.

The new Champions League format could be introduced as soon as the 2024-25 season. UEFA is favouring the 'Swiss model', which would result in a guaranteed four extra games a season.

Much like the 2020-21 Heineken Champions Cup in rugby, 36 qualified teams would be separated into 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th seeds.

But instead of being drawn into different groups, all sides would be competing for places in the one division.

Teams would not all play each other, instead a draw would determine ten opponents for each side, with five games at home, and five away.

A top-seeded team, for instance, would play two other top seeds, three each from pots 2 and 3, and two of the fourth seeds.

Points accrued would be registered on one big league table. The top-16 would progress to the knockout phase.

Teams placing 17th to 24th would drop into the UEFA Europa League.

Increasing the number of teams in the final stages from 32 to 36 is proving to be a sticking point. It's been floated that the four places be held in reserve as a safety net for "historical clubs" that fail to qualify.

Speaking a year ago, Agnelli suggested that clubs like last season's surprise package Atalanta were not deserving of a Champions League place.

Agnelli told the ECA general assembly that the 'Swiss model' is the "ideal" format for the Champions League, adding keeping the knockout phase was maintaining "the essence of the competition".

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez told an ECA assembly in December, "Everyone realises that the current competitive environment must be reformed as soon as possible.

"The competitiveness and quality of our competitions must improve.”

One way to "improve" the competitiveness of the Champions League - at least according to Agnelli - is to ring-fence clubs' top talents.

He claimed ECA members are discussing plans to prohibit Champions League-qualified sides from buying players from one another.

He believes it would see money filter down through the football pyramid.

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