European Leagues Present Proposals for UEFA Club Competitions

  • Leagues welcome UEFA’s proposed three tier competition format
  • Proposal for more inclusive access list
  • Substantial rise of solidarity payments in order to protect competitive balance

Following the UEFA Club Competitions (UCC) reform adopted in August 2016 and ahead of the upcoming decisions to be taken by UEFA and its National Associations for the 21/24 UCC cycle, European Leagues have taken the initiative to work on proposals for improving professional Club Competitions in Europe.

An extensive and comprehensive model was presented and endorsed today by the European Leagues during the Association’s General Assembly held in Frankfurt, Germany.

The Leagues welcomed the new innovative three tier competition format (UCL / UEL / UEL2 with 32 clubs each) proposed by UEFA which will allow more clubs from more National Associations to participate to European Club Competitions. In addition, the Leagues outlined the need for a new and more inclusive access list and a new revenue distribution model where solidarity is properly recognised to restore and support competitive balance in domestic competitions.

Specifically, the European Leagues’ model proposes the following improvements to UCC:

Access List A more inclusive model with:

  • Access for each participating club in every UCC must always be based on the latest performance of clubs in their respective domestic top tier league competition and/or domestic Cup. The only exception are the winners of the respective UCC competitions.
  • An aggregate minimum of 36 (approximately 2/3 of the Access List) domestic champions must take part in the Group Stages of all the UCC.
  • The vast majority of members of the European Leagues support the concept that the UEFA Champions League (UCL) should have a maximum of 3 Direct Access (plus 1 Play-off/Qualifying Round) spots to the Group Stage from an individual National Association.

Calendar A proper balance between UCC and Domestic Competitions including:

  • A total of 72 Calendar Days, representing 25 weeks, are reserved for UCC matches (i.e. Qualification – PR/QR/PO, Group Stage, Knock-out and Finals).
  • UCC matches are always played on Weekdays (defined as Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) except the Final of the UCL, which is on a Saturday. All other Finals (SCUP, UEL, UEL2) are to be played on Weekdays.
  • Weekdays not reserved for UCC or for National Team matches are for either Domestic League or Domestic Cup competitions.
  • Domestic League matches are primarily played on Weekends (defined as Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday), except those Weekends being part of international weeks that are reserved for National Team matches.

Revenue Distribution Model A financial distribution based on three pillars:

  • The Distribution ratio between the 3 competitions should be reduced. In particular, the ratio between UCL and UEL should not exceed a maximum of 3.5:1, while the ratio between UEL and UEL2 should be a maximum of 2.5:1.
  • Within Competition Financial Distribution – the Club Coefficient distribution pillar should be removed with the money being reallocated to the Market Pool. The concept of historical titles should not form part of the distribution model within a competition due to its distortive effect to competitive balance.
  • Solidarity Payments – The total percentage of solidarity payments should be significantly increased to help reduce the increasing financial gap in European club football. The increased solidarity percentage should be primarily used for Non-Participating Clubs of both National Associations with and without clubs in the Group Stage of the UCL. Furthermore, the European Leagues propose to include within solidarity the creation of a new Professional Football Development pillar which represents a unique opportunity for National Associations to support the development of professional football in medium and small countries all across Europe, including non-top tier leagues. Under this proposal, a percentage of solidarity payments would be allocated for development projects with focus on youth development, fan engagement, infrastructures, fight against match-fixing and fight against piracy, among other activities. The big five National Associations/Leagues in Europe would be excluded from this development pillar to further enhance competitive balance across Europe.

Claus Thomsen, Vice-President of the European Leagues stated: “A fair and democratic Club Competition model both in terms of access and revenue distribution is something I believe all stakeholders – clubs, leagues, national associations and of course the fans fully support. The plan which we are launching today is, in our view, a comprehensive and complete plan with a fresh approach, fresh ideas that will contribute positively to protect and enhance competitive balance across European Football. Maintaining competitive balance is one of the greatest challenges we face in European football today. We have already shared our plans with UEFA and we now look forward to a period of constructive discussion and co-operation together with them and other football stakeholders as we look to secure a brighter future for European football at every level”

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