Premier League could get fifth Champions League spot as Uefa scrap coefficient plan

The proposal to award two places in the new 36-team league phase based on individual clubs’ European performances over five years has been scrapped

Jamie Gardner
Tuesday 10 May 2022 19:23
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Real Madrid's unforgettable 2022 Champions League semi-final

Uefa have scrapped their coefficient plan and from 2024 will award two Champions League places to countries whose clubs collectively performed best in Europe the previous campaign.

An agreement has been reached in Vienna between Uefa and the European Club Association on access to the new-look competition.

The proposal to award two places in the new 36-team league phase based on individual clubs’ European performances over five years has been scrapped, with critics arguing it created a safety net for failing big clubs and a Super League by default.

Instead two places will be awarded to clubs from the countries who performed best in Europe in the previous term.

If applied to next season that would mean the Premier League in England gaining an extra spot, along with the top flight in the Netherlands.

The number of matches in the new-look league phase per team will drop to eight, from the initial proposal of 10 matches.

Under the approved country coefficient system England would have secured an extra place in four of the last five seasons, the exception being performance in the 2019-20 season, when the places would have gone to Germany and Spain.

New proposals were presented to the ECA in Madrid on Monday and the indications then were that more time would be needed to reach a decision, possibly forcing the decision back until later this month at least.

However, a key meeting of Uefa’s club competitions committee was delayed on Tuesday morning to allow more time for the final detail to be worked out.

President Aleksander Ceferin said upon the announcement: “Uefa has clearly shown today that we are fully committed to respecting the fundamental values of sport and to defending the key principle of open competitions, with qualification based on sporting merit, fully in line with the values and solidarity-based European sports model.

“Today’s decisions conclude an extensive consultation process during which we listened to the ideas of fans, players, coaches, national associations, clubs and leagues to name but a few, with the aim to find the best solution for the development and success of European football, both domestically and on the international club stage.

“We are convinced that the format chosen strikes the right balance and that it will improve the competitive balance and generate solid revenues that can be distributed to clubs, leagues and into grassroots football across our continent while increasing the appeal and popularity of our club competitions”

Uefa originally approved changes to the format in April last year but the announcement was totally overshadowed by the formation of the Super League hours earlier.

At that point, the format included a leap from the current six matches to 10, and the awarding of two places to clubs based on historic performance over five seasons provided they had done enough to qualify for one of the other two Uefa club competitions.

Europe’s domestic leagues opposed the increase in matches and the coefficient proposal, and still objected even when the proposal was tweaked to avoid clubs leapfrogging rivals who performed better domestically into Europe’s premier club competition.

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