By Robbie Butler
Yesterday UEFA made public their plans for the 2024/25 UEFA Champions League. As expected the competition design has been altered. This is a consequence of a number of factors including club lobbying, a desire for further expansion of the competition, and the threat and upheaval brought in April 2021 by the announcement of the ill-fated and short-lived European Super League.
Born in 1992, the UEFA Champions League replaced the old European Cup and consisted of just 8 teams (post-qualifying) in two groups. Numerous changes and expansions occurred thereafter, including a double group phase, but since 2003/04 the competition has remained effectively unaltered. This is testament to the success of the product and the attention that the current format generated. Alas, nothing remains the same forever, and the powers that be have decided that change (as most people now do) is for the better.
The 8 groups that currently exist will be replaced by a Swiss-style tournament model.
I must admit, I had no idea what this was (Google was required) and am still a little unclear as to what this will look like. I had the same problems with UEFA's Nations League when the competition design was announced but got to grips with it once the actual games started. A theoretical example of the Swiss system can be found here.
What was interesting to note from the link is that the Swiss system is currently used in competitions such as eSports, Chess, Scrabble and Pokémon!
One wonders how this will map into elite European club football. Roll on 2024/25.