New Champions League 'Opening Four' format to have big effect on Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham
There has been another twist in the potential reformation of the Champions League format which is set to have a major effect on Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham. UEFA have discussed the prospect of creating a 'mini-tournament' with four Champions League teams to start the season, according to The Associated Press.
The talks follow UEFA's decision to revert plans of reshaping the format of how semi-finals are played; previously, UEFA were looking to replace two-legged semi-final ties with single matches within the same vicinity as the final. The idea was trialled and tested in Lisbon two years ago out of necessity due to various restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic — the final was then played in Porto.
But, UEFA didn't have supporters to worry about with empty stadiums. By founding a pre-season tournament with four teams, it would open the door for UEFA to test staging events outside of Europe, with the United States a favoured option, according to The Associated Press.
With many clubs — like Arsenal and Chelsea who are already off the United States this summer — often travelling abroad on pre-season tours around the world, staging a mini-tournament far from home could face less resistance from clubs and fan groups.
UEFA's proposal follows their decision to rethink the Champions League qualification process. The competition, as supporters know it, is set to undergo a controversial makeover despite incredible uproar among fanbases and domestic leagues.
The original proposal for the revamped format that starts in the 2024/25 season would have given teams like Arsenal – clubs that failed to qualify for European competitions via their league finish. It would have been a potential backdoor into the Champions League thanks to UEFA's club coefficient leaderboards, which rank sides based on performances in UEFA competitions over the previous five seasons.
Many cast their doubt over the plans, with the collapse of the European Super League just a year prior. However, Europe's leading sides and UEFA have come together and are set to agree on a comprise, according to The Athletic. The general consensus was that now only one season would be taken into account, though, of course, with historical records still in mind.
The report adds that it plans to also use UEFA's country coefficient, as opposed to club ranking — which is currently in place to allocate places in its competitions to its member associations.