European football's governing body is pondering a proposal that it scraps the woefully unpopular Europa League in order to launch a 64-team uber-tournament that would double the size of the existing Champions League group stage.
With no second-tier competition, that would mean seven English sides all heading into Europe's top club tournament.
Assuming that European places for the FA Cup and League Cup winners are retained, that could open the door to Champions League riches for a huge number of clubs who have previously been unable to break into the top four.
A dilution of the quality of the early group stage matches would be inevitable, but a super-sized Champions League would also bring undoubted benefits in reigniting some of the largely redundant competitions. Many teams field semi-youth sides in the FA Cup and League Cup, for example; that sacrificing of cup matches for the sake of league success would instantly become a thing of the past.
It would also lead to some extraordinary anomalies: in 2011-12, Birmingham City were in the Europa League despite being relegated and plying their trade in the Championship. Under the possible new format they could have been playing Barcelona at Camp Nou on Wednesday and then lining up at Peterborough that weekend.
"There is an ongoing debate to determine what form the European competitions will have between 2015 and 2018," UEFA president Michel Platini said in the Daily Mail, adding that, "nothing is decided yet" and that a decision is due in 2014.
The spark for the radical proposal has come as UEFA is under threat of a breakaway alternative to the Champions League that is being rumoured among some of Europe's biggest sides.
But Platini was dismissive of the idea that any such Euro Super League could take off.
"It doesn't worry me. I can't see how it could work outside the UEFA framework," he said. "Who will referee them? In what stadiums will they play?"
Unconscionable weakening of the Champions League or the perfect way to boost European cup football across the continent? Have your say in the comments box below.
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