Raising the Levels of Competitiveness in the U.E.F.A. Champions’ League: A Proposal to Divide and Unite

Until the U.E.F.A. Champions’ League and the U.E.F.A. Europa League are replaced

and both a “League of Europe” and a “Cup of Europe” are established in accordance

with the ideas expressed by Jean-Bernard Lévy in Le Miroir des sports on 11

December, 1934, the modus operandi of the U.E.F.A. Champions’ League could be

altered in order to raise the levels of competitiveness in this competition.  This

alteration could be made primarily by dividing the 32 clubs which qualify for it into 2

sections of 16 clubs.  The first of these 2 sections would contain the 16 clubs which

qualified by coming first, second, third or fourth in one of the 4 financially advantaged

and comparatively successful, national leagues; and the second of these 2 sections

would contain the other 15 clubs which qualified either directly from their national

leagues or indirectly from their national leagues by way of the qualifying rounds, in

addition to the club which won the U.E.F.A. Europa League during the previous

season.

 

The 16 clubs which qualified from the 4 financially advantaged leagues would then

enter Groups A, B, C and D of the Group Stages of the Champions’ League in such

a way that each of these 4 groups would contain one club from each of the 4

financially advantaged leagues and that each of these 4 groups would contain one

club which had come first, one club which had come second, one club which had

come third and one club which had come fourth in its national league.  For example,

at the end of the 2016/17 season, these were the clubs which came first, second,

third or fourth in each of the 4 financially advantaged leagues:

 

La Liga                  Premier League        Bundesliga                Serie A

Real Madrid         Chelsea                       Bayern München     Juventus
Barcelona             Tottenham Hot.        RB Leipzig                 A.S. Roma
Atlético Madrid   Manchester City       Bor. Dortmund         S.S.C. Napoli
Sevilla                   Liverpool                    TSG 1899 Hoff.         Atalanta

 

Therefore, in the Group Stages of the U.E.F.A. Champions’ League during the

2017/18 season, there could have been the following groups:

 

Group A                     Group B                     Group C                     Group D

Real Madrid               Chelsea                     Bayern München       Juventus
A.S. Roma                  Barcelona                  Tottenham Hot.         RB Leipzig
Bor. Dortmund         S.S.C. Napoli            Atlético Madrid          Manchester City
Liverpool                   TSG 1899 Hoff.        Atalanta                       Sevilla

 

The other 15 clubs which qualified either directly from their national leagues or

indirectly from their national leagues by way of the qualifying rounds, in addition to

the club which won the U.E.F.A. Europa League during the previous season, would

enter Groups E, F, G and H in the Group Stages of the Champions’ League in such

a way that none of these groups would contain more than one club from the same

country.  Therefore, in the Group Stages of the U.E.F.A. Champions’ League during

the 2017/18 season, there could have been also the following groups:

 

Group E                     Group F                     Group G                     Group H

Manchester Utd.       Shakhtar Don.          Ajax                            Feyenoord
Paris Saint-Ger.        A.S. Monaco             Celtic                          Spartak Moscow
Porto                           Benfica                      Sporting C.P.             Beşiktaş J.K.
Legia Warszawa       R.S.C. Anderlecht    Olympiacos                F.C. Basel

 

At the end of the Group Stages, in the Round of 16, the 8 clubs which progressed

from Groups A, B, C and D could have been kept apart from the 8 clubs which

progressed from Groups E, F, G and H in such a way that the following matches

could have been arranged:

 

Round of 16 (First-Leg Matches)

 

Contest

I                       Group B Runner-up                        B2       v.         A1       Group A Winner

J                      Group A Runner-up                        A2       v.         B1       Group B Winner

K                     Group D Runner-up                        D2       v.         C1       Group C Winner

L                      Group C Runner-up                        C2       v.         D1       Group D Winner

M                     Group F Runner-up                        F2       v.         E1       Group E Winner

N                     Group E Runner-up                        E2       v.         F1       Group F Winner

O                     Group H Runner-up                        H2       v.         G1       Group G Winner

P                     Group G Runner-up                        G2       v.         H1       Group H Winner

 

Round of 16 (Second-Leg Matches)

 

Contest

I                       Group A Winner                    A1       v.         B2       Group B Runner-up

J                      Group B Winner                    B1       v.         A2       Group A Runner-up

K                     Group C Winner                    C1       v.         D2       Group D Runner-up

L                      Group D Winner                   D1       v.         C2       Group C Runner-up

M                     Group E Winner                   E1       v.         F2       Group F Runner-up

N                     Group F Winner                   F1       v.         E2       Group E Runner-up

O                     Group G Winner                   G1       v.         H2       Group H Runner-up

P                     Group H Winner                   H1       v.         G2       Group G Runner-up

 

In the Quarter-Finals of the competition, the following matches could have been

arranged, with the clubs which had progressed from Groups E, F, G and H playing at

home in the first-leg matches:

 

Quarter-Finals (First-Leg Matches)

 

Contest

Q                     Winner of M                         M1       v.         I1         Winner of I

R                     Winner of N                          N1       v.         J1        Winner of J

S                     Winner of O                          O1       v.         K1        Winner of K

T                      Winner of P                          P1       v.         L1        Winner of L

 

Quarter-Finals (Second-Leg Matches)

 

Contest

Q                     Winner of I                            I1         v.         M1       Winner of M

R                     Winner of J                           J1        v.         N1       Winner of N

S                     Winner of K                           K1       v.         O1       Winner of O

T                      Winner of L                           L1        v.         P1       Winner of P

 

Then, in the Semi-Finals of the competition, the following matches could have been

arranged:

 

Semi-Finals (First-Leg Matches)

 

Contest

U                     Winner of Q                          Q1       v.         S1       Winner of S

V                     Winner of R                          R1       v.         T1        Winner of T

 

Semi-Finals (Second-Leg Matches)

 

Contest

U                     Winner of S                           S1       v.         Q1       Winner of Q

V                     Winner of T                           T1        v.         R1       Winner of R

 

Thus, in the Final of the competition, the Winner of U would have competed against

the Winner of V at the Olympic National Sports Complex in Kiev on 26 May, 2018.

Summary

 

If such an alteration of the modus operandi of the U.E.F.A. Champions’ League were

to be made, then the levels of competitiveness of this competition would be raised

because:-

  • it is likely that most of the matches in the Group Stages would be contested
    between clubs which have approximately equivalent, financial resources and,
    therefore, these matches would be much more competitive than they have
    been up to now;
  • it is likely that there would be fewer occasions when the financially poor team
    of one club was heavily beaten by the financially rich team of another club; and
  • it is likely that, more often than not, 4 clubs from the financially disadvantaged
    leagues would qualify for the Quarter-Finals and that these 4 clubs would be the
    strongest clubs from the financially disadvantaged leagues and would therefore
    be much more able to compete successfully against the 4 clubs from the financially
    advantaged leagues than would the other, weaker clubs from the financially
    disadvantaged leagues.

In addition to these improvements, if this alteration were to be made, it is likely that

there would be fewer, meaningless matches on Matchday 5 and Matchday 6 of the

Group Stages; there would be more, commercially attractive matches between the

best teams in the competition; and there would be a greater variety of clubs and

nations represented in the latter stages of the competition.

It would also be impossible for 2 clubs which had been in the same group during the

Group Stages to compete against one another again until the Final Match of the

competition.

Surely this proposal to divide is also one which will unite ?

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