UEFA Weighs Champions League Expansion, Elimination Of Europa League
UEFA is “considering a proposal to double the number of teams in the Champions League from 32 to 64 teams,” according to Simon Rice of the London INDEPENDENT. The idea would “see European football's governing body scrap the Europa League.” UEFA President Michel Platini said, "We're discussing it. We will make a decision in 2014. Nothing is decided yet.” Rice noted UEFA is “looking at changing the existing format of European competitions, with an implementation date of 2015 for any alterations.” The amount of money generated by the Champions League "is a motivating factor while the Europa League, which was re-branded from the UEFA Cup, has struggled to hold the attention enjoyed by its sister competition.” Another proposal “understood to be under consideration is offering a place in the Champions League as a prize for winning the Europa League," which may encourage teams “to take the competition more seriously.” Also being reviewed is the current format “which sees teams finishing third in the Champions League group stage dropping into the Europa League’s last 32” (London INDEPENDENT, 11/28). In London, Oliver Kay writes, “The fixture congestion that comes from the Europa League leaves many clubs deciding that it is not worth the effort if they have to juggle it against the pursuit of the more lucrative Champions League” (LONDON TIMES, 11/29).