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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

UEFA to Scrap Two-legged Champions League Semi-Finals Format

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European football governing body, UEFA, is planning to scrap the traditional two-legged Champions League semi-finals format with a final four tournament in one host city.

The current semi-finals format, which sees the final four teams face off against each other home and away has been in place since 1955, but could be changed as UEFA plots radical changes to the tournament.

At the start of the 2024/25 season, the updated Champions League format is set to be launched, which will likely include group matches from six to 10, with extra teams qualifying for the competition.

Read Also: What to expect in Champions League Semi-Finals

The Times report that while the European Club Association (ECA) have yet to reach a decision, there is growing support for straight knockout matches from the semi-final stage, with both games and the final taking place in one host city, resembling a festival of football in one concentrated area.

That would closely resemble the conclusion of the Nations League competition and would eliminate the opportunity for second legs of ties like the pulsating meeting between Manchester City and Real Madrid, which is delicately balanced at 4-3 on Tuesday night.

The Premier League and LaLiga champions went toe-to-toe in Manchester in a game for the ages, with the second leg at the Bernabeu promising to be one of the most anticipated Champions League games in recent years. Instead, UEFA said to believe that single-leg knockout ties, as seen in the Covid-affected 2020 tournament, add extra peril and excitement.

The report claims that while some figures at UEFA are reluctant to make such a huge change, president Aleksander Ceferin has previously hinted he would be open to the idea of a week of football.

“If you look at the Super Bowl it’s a great event and they do it in a great way, they have concerts and people go there and have fun,” Ceferin told the Times. “Even if you lose those two matches you can get more revenue to compensate.

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