UEFA Proposed Champions League changes could lead to more thrilling encounters

With the 2021/22 Champions League campaign slowly edging towards the Stade de France based Final, the Group Stage of the competition again did not disappoint eager fans with some thrilling and close encounters, but tensions stepped up at the quarter final point with some glorious battles taking place.

The two stand out double headers at that stage were undoubtedly the tantalising clashes between Liverpool and Benfica, and then the Real Madrid and Chelsea tie.  Jurgen Klopp’s side took a comfortable first leg win over Portuguese Benfica, but in the return leg at Anfield, the visitors truly made a game of it – battling to a 3-3 draw, leaving the score at 6-4 on aggregate.

Chelsea, on the other hand, saw themselves defeated 3-1 at Stamford Bridge by Los Blancos, but upon making their trip to the Santiago Bernabeu, they took a very narrow 3-2 victory, where Karim Benzema’s 96th minute goal proved to be enough to put them through  to the semi finals and you would have got great sports betting odds when it came to the end of that game.

With the semi final draw known, there should certainly be a few more shocks in store for fans as Manchester City take on Real, and Liverpool face Villareal and the final will undoubtedly be a cracker.  Such glorious encounters between top quality European sides will be even more normal if UEFA pushes through their proposed changes to Champions League qualification in 2024.

Following a recent Executive Committee meeting, UEFA plans to slightly move away from domestic league performance as the only criteria for qualification into the Champions League, and they instead want to reward successful Euro challengers based on their past 10 year coefficient rating.  It would mean that for the first time in the history of the beautiful game that qualification would be based on something other than the season that had just finished.

Some will undoubtedly disagree with this move and cite issues such as sporting integrity and clearly you can see their valid concerns with this plan.

“It’s almost like this is ‘European Super League Lite’, and the fear is that two might become four, might become eight – with the Champions League becoming more and more of a closed shop.”

However, there are those who feel that the current system – whereby a reigning Champions League winner may not in fact have an opportunity to defend their crown – is itself inherently unfair.

In short, the move would create two wildcard spaces for European clubs who have failed to qualify through from their domestic league, but have traditionally done well in the elite club competition.  Unfortunately, the proposed new system would not actually directly correct the flaw of a potential reigning champion being blocked from defending their title, but it would mean for the first time ever that the Premier League Big Six could all potentially qualify for the Champions League in the same season – and there will be those who would argue that it would make the competition even more competitive given the calibre of players those sides boast in their ranks.

It will be interesting to see if, and how, this is implemented and what the real details are and then fans will make their own minds up on whether or not it adds to the magic of European evenings.

UEFA Proposed Champions League changes could lead to more thrilling encounters

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