For the first time in five years, Tottenham Hotspur will not be part of next season’s UEFA Champions League.
The Lilywhites will instead be hoping to book a place in the group stages of the Europa League but they must first face three qualifiers, the first of which is set to be held on September 17.
Jose Mourinho has already declared his intention to win the competition for the third time in his career and his first with Tottenham (Football.London).
However, the North Londoners could have their work cut out next season after UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has revealed that European football’s governing body are considering keeping the single-legged knockout format for both the Champions League and Europa League.
As the pandemic wreaked havoc on the European footballing calendar, the final stages of both competitions were completed with straight knock-out ties rather than the usual two-legged affairs last season.
While rule change gave fans some exciting matches, it proved the undoing for fancied sides like Atletico Madrid, Manchester City and Manchester United, who did not have the opportunity to turn the tie around.
It looks like Spurs could similarly have little margin for error in Europe next season, with Ceferin admitting that the same format could be continued into next season.
The UEFA president is quoted by AS as saying: “I have to say this system of one match seems more interesting to me than the other system with two-legged matches.
“It’s one of the interesting things that was brought by this pandemic. We had to do a system like that. We had to play this way, but at the end, we see it’s a very interesting system.
“Now, it’s quite complicated to place a final eight in the calendar. But we saw that people want exciting matches, that in one match, every team can beat every team in Champions League or the Europa League.
“So it’s something to consider for the future … I think in September or October, we have to start to seriously speak.”
Spurs Web Opinion
While the latter stages of both the Europa League and the Champions League were extremely exciting this year due to the new format, I would not like the format to stay. I believe the two-legged nature of knockout rounds in Europe adds an element of drama that is otherwise missing.
As we saw this year, the competitions will be much harder to win for the bigger sides in case of straight knockouts as teams do not have any margin for error. However, the number of fixtures that teams would have to play to reach the final would be reduced, which clubs might consider a decent trade-off.
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