Report: Premier League could reduce number of teams from 20

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

According to a report from The Independent, the Premier League may decide to reduce the number of teams in the top-flight in order to accommodate an extended Champions League format proposed by Juventus chairman, Andrea Agnelli.

Agnelli, who chairs the European Club Association (ECA), gave the body’s approval to UEFA for a new-look Champions League that would begin in 2024, containing 36 clubs instead of 32.

In the proposed format, each club would play ten matches instead of the six they now play in the group stages.

The matches would take place in a ‘swiss system’ within a 36-team league so that not all teams will have to play each other.

The Premier League is said to be worried about potential fixture congestion due to the increased number of matches but Agnelli proposed that domestic leagues with 20 teams in their top-flight needed to reduce this number.

The Juve chairman is quoted as saying: “The balance we are trying to strike is one third international [games] to two thirds domestic.

“We have countries such as England with the maximum number of games at 53 or 54, Germany is 43. So it’s having a balanced competitive landscape.

“We do think that currently, for competitive balance purposes, 20 teams in leagues – it’s not just the big leagues, but in many leagues – there are too many.

“And so there is an overall element that could actually be worked out altogether in the interests of everyone.”

Additionally, the proposed format dictates that clubs would qualify for the competition based on historical co-efficient rankings rather than performance in the most recent domestic season.

When asked if that could set a dangerous precedent, Agnelli said: “Unprecedented events can turn into normality. Some years ago it was unprecedented that not just the champions were allowed in the Champions Cup, and then it became normality.

“So I wouldn’t be too concerned about unprecedented events which then become normality, if they are approved.

“When it once was blasphemy to imagine not just the champions in the Champions Cup, now it’s absolutely normal, so I wouldn’t be too concerned about change.

“Those who know me, know I am a fan of change – if change is necessary I am happy for change to take place.”

Spurs Web Opinion

There are some parts of this proposal that could actually be positive for the European game. It would certainly reduce the clamour for a European Super League which seems to be growing by the day.

However, the idea of a ‘swiss format’ in the group stages as well as the suggestion that historical co-efficient would have more weight than domestic league performances, sound fundamentally unfair.

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