League format the next stage

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The Independent Online

Changes that will reorganise the Uefa Cup along the lines of the Champions' League are being considered by Uefa and could be implemented as early as next season.

With coaches in this year's competition, such as Leeds United's David O'Leary, calling for the Uefa Cup to have a group stage, European football's governing body will debate the proposed changes at its executive committee meeting in December.

Uefa will also exam whether to slim down the Champions' League by reverting to a straight knock-out format after the first group stage. However, the main focus of the meeting in Switzerland will be to overhaul the Uefa Cup in an attempt to maximize its television and marketing revenue after the competition became overshadowed by the Champions' League in recent years.

Uefa communications director Mike Lee confirmed yesterday: "Uefa do favour moving to the use of a group stage but there are many issues that need to be addressed to bring about that reform."

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