American teams could face Champions League winners in revamped Super Cup

·3-min read
American teams could face Champions League winners in revamped Super Cup - AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
American teams could face Champions League winners in revamped Super Cup - AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

American teams could take on the Champions League winners with Uefa planning to revamp the Super Cup into a four-club mini tournament.

The idea also raises the prospect of the games being taken out of Europe, as a festival of football, to try to reach a wider global fanbase.

Talks have taken place to replace the current Uefa Super Cup – which is played in a European country between the Champions League and Europa League winners – with matches (two semi-finals and a final) also involving the winners of the new Europa Conference League.

The fourth team would be invited, with the United States, which is considered the key growth market for European football, the main destination under discussion to host the season curtain-raiser event. One option would be to include the host country's champions – in this case, the winners of Major League Soccer – as the fourth team in the competition.

The tournament could then be hosted by another country the following year, with its champions invited, although the US is the main market being considered and the plan is likely to be closely followed by the American owners of Premier League clubs.

Uefa's new English-language US broadcast rights deal for its men's European club competitions represents a 150 per cent improvement on its existing contract, with further revenue still to be generated from the sale of Spanish-language rights.

More families and female fans

It is understood there have not been any serious talks at this stage about playing Champions League matches – either group-stage games, knockout matches or the final – outside Europe although this will undoubtedly appeal to a number of clubs.

The idea of a new opening tournament to replace the Super Cup from 2024 is gaining support as a means to drive more revenue, not just for the competing clubs but to European football as a whole, by attracting a new audience, with an emphasis on bringing in more families and female fans.

Other sports have successfully taken matches into new markets, such as the NFL playing regular-season games in London.

Further discussions are set to take place at the European Club Association's (ECA) General Assembly in Istanbul on Thursday and Friday, with the organisation keen to foster a spirit of innovation.

ECA chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi is expected to issue a warning to clubs about dangerous debt levels in the context of rising interest rates around the continent.

Further talks will also take place over a new financial distribution model for the new-look European tournaments post-2024.

Smaller clubs will be seeking a greater share, while those at the top will also want more, arguing they drive the interest and therefore the revenue.

The European Leagues group has called for major changes to how money is split within and between the competitions, and for a higher percentage to be set aside in solidarity payments to non-competing clubs.