'Green light given' for Uefa to launch third European club competition

Tom Morgan
The Telegraph
'Green light given' for Uefa to launch third European club competition
'Green light given' for Uefa to launch third European club competition

A third European competition is set to return to club football as part of a dramatic reshuffle expected by Uefa to reduce the Europa League's mammoth group stage.

The extra contest, which has yet to be named despite an initial "green light" by governing officials, is likely to be marketed primarily towards internet streaming sites.

The Champions League, Europe League and the third tournament are expected to include 32 teams each from the 2021/22 season.

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Officials are keen to slash the current 48-team Europa League group stage by a third as the current format has drawn years of criticism for the burden it takes on clubs' domestic fixture calendars.

By creating a new tournament, authorities are expected to explore new revenue generating schemes by potentially offering "internet-only" broadcast deals.

<span>Gareth Bales scores during Real Madrid's Champions League final win over Liverpool</span> <span>Credit: Getty Images </span>
Gareth Bales scores during Real Madrid's Champions League final win over Liverpool Credit: Getty Images

European Club Association President Andrea Agnelli confirmed “the green light has been given” to a new competition, which is expected to sit below the Champions League and Europa League in terms of its status.

The Juventus President told the ECA's general assembly: "Pending approval of the UEFA ExCo, the 'green light' has been given to introduce a third competition, bringing the overall number of clubs to 96, as of the 2021/22 season."

The format of qualification for the competition has not yet been announced, but it could be similar to the former Cup Winners’ Cup, which was abandoned in 1999.

Uefa confirmed last month that it was "constantly reviewing the format of its competitions and is looking at a variety of options in this respect".

"Uefa is discussing various ideas within its Club Competitions Committee before any decision on potential changes would be made,” a statement added.

German newspaper Sport Bild said a new format was being considered because it would present new opportunities for broadcasting rights for internet platforms.

The format would also enable authorities to include more teams from smaller footballing nations, such as Scandinavia or Eastern Europe, without having to increase the Europa League - as initially proposed - to 64 teams.

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