For a long time, everything was calm around the very controversial Champions League wildcards, which are to be introduced in the new format from 2024. Now the bourgeois clubs and the European Leagues are putting the issue back on the agenda and prevent serious consequences.
Fighting wildcards as Eintracht board member: Axel Hellmann.
The league association demands that the additional starting places in the first class created by the planned expansion from 32 to 36 clubs “shall only and exclusively be allocated by direct qualification from the national leagues”. The coefficient settlement, which aims to give two clubs that are not actually qualified access to the Champions League by evaluating historical successes, “would represent an unjustified second chance for certain big clubs to participate in the Champions League” . Sporting achievements in the national leagues must be the only Remain accessible. This is a fundamental principle of the European sporting model which must not be called into question.”
Hellmann’s warning and the Mittelstands-Alliance
During the week, Axel Hellmann had already warned against a “monster of European football”, a Super League through the back door. “We must not let the economic differences between the Champions League and the Europa League get worse,” the Eintracht Frankfurt spokesman said. The Hessians, who laid the groundwork for entering the Europa League final on Thursday, are apparently part of an alliance of midsize companies that are working to improve networking and lobbying for big names Of the industry.
It is certainly no coincidence that Hellmann and the leagues are now putting the topic on the agenda. Because immediately before the UEFA Congress in Vienna on May 11, the Confederation’s Executive Committee and the Club Competitions Committee (CCC), which is responsible for organizing the competitions, will continue to deal with the matter. Spicy: In the CCC, major club association ECA, which made it clear weeks ago that it wanted to pursue wildcard plans, is setting the tone. Various members of the ECA Board of Directors sit on the committee. If no nail is laid in Vienna, the executive committee of the Champions League final in Paris (May 28) could make a decision.
Super League problem at ECJ
The wildcard proposal and the change from the Champions League to a league system was adopted in April 2021 as a socially acceptable counter-proposal, when a dozen clubs dared the infamous Super League push, which s collapsed under violent protests from fans. UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin received loud applause at the time as he strongly opposed the escape attempt, backed by Qatari CEO Paris Saint-Germain and ECA boss Nasser Al-Khelaifi, FC Bayern and also Borussia Dortmund. However, Real Madrid, Juventus Turin and FC Barcelona remain formally loyal to the Super League. A court hearing is due to take place soon in Madrid and the Super League issue has also been referred to the ECJ.
But the reform of the queen class announced by UEFA would also have serious consequences, in addition to a competition partially closed by wildcards, a massive increase in the number of matches from 125 to 225. The European leagues are also critical of this and therefore do not advocate plus more than eight games per club in the new first-class preliminary round. Ten matches per club are currently scheduled.