A UEFA plan to limit the amount of clubs able to qualify for the Champions League has been set out in a Football Association report, which would bring an end to the Premier League’s top-four battle.
Moves to protect “elite European club revenue streams” are laid out in the FA report, which details the plans that European football’s governing body have to expand their continental competitions.
The Premier League’s top-four race has been extremely competitive in recent seasons, with the established ‘big-six’ facing challenges from the likes of Leicester City, Sheffield United and Wolves.
However, the new proposals would bring an end to that battle as application to the Champions League would be extremely different – and wouldn’t be in its current open format.
The new plans, which would come into force in 2024, state that the 32-team Champions League for the 2024/25 season would be chosen based on UEFA’s domestic club rankings from the period between the 2020/21 and 2023/24 seasons – effectively making the tournament a closed shop.
For clubs outside that bracket, entry to future Champions League tournaments would have to come through either winning the Premier League outright, or reaching the semi-finals of a revamped 32-team Europa League.
Some clubs in Europe believe that performances in continental competitions should be placed above domestic performances when determining qualification for the tournament, which has seen Roma and Ajax in recent seasons reach the semi-finals but then miss out entirely in future seasons.
Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli has been vocal in his support for this move, citing Roma as an example back in March when he questioned whether it was right for Atalanta to be in this year’s competition, “without international history and thanks to just one great season.”
There are also plans for the Europa League to follow a similar pattern from 2024, with new teams able to qualify via league position or finishing in the last four of the new UEFA Conference League.
“The FA continues to work with all stakeholders to reach an acceptable position,” the report adds.