The new structure of the Champions League will be music to Stan Kroenke’s ear.
It’s a step closer to turning elite football into like American sports, the majority of which don’t have relegation or promotion but reward a team for simply being a franchise.
The new version of the European Cup starting in 2024 is complex, but from Arsenal’s point of view the new format increases our chances of returning to the elite level.
Nothing has changed in terms of the Top 4 will still be the route to qualification but there is now a controversial insurance policy of UEFA awarding an additional place to whoever has the most coefficient points.
Based on this season, as an example, Liverpool would qualify based on their previous record in Europe, almost like a get out of jail free card just in case a big name underachieves domestically.
In the past couple of years we would have benefited from this ruling.
Based purely on our own self-interest the new policy was designed for the likes of us, a big-name 11th in UEFA’s rankings but not acting like it, with it likely those above us all qualify through the normal channels.
Our points will improve even more if we win the Europa League.
If we are honest though it rewards failure.
My worry is this won’t encourage our owner to show any ambition. Why build a squad to challenge for the title when UEFA are making it even easier to qualify for UEFA’s premiere competition?
There’s certainly zero incentive to try and win it.
We were a club once accused of only caring about being in the Champions League but not trying to win it, happy to garner the revenue that simply being a participant made us.
That will be even more the case with this updated version, guaranteeing 36 sides at least 10 fixtures with huge TV and sponsorship deals, hence why UEFA are trying to find ways to get the most marketable names involved.
In theory the Gunners could finish 7th every year, be in the Champions League, take the money and after 10 games count their money. It’s worryingly reminiscent of the American model.
Just in case you are wondering how Arsenal could win the Champions League …….
36 Teams Compete in One League table instead of the Traditional Group Stages.
However you don’t play everyone home and away just 10 fixtures decided by a draw (teams are seeded).
The top 8 qualify for the knockout stages (and are guaranteed qualification for the next year).
The bottom 12 clubs are knocked out.
If you finish between 9th – 24th you enter the playoffs
e.g. 9th vs 24th over two legs.
The Final 16 teams take part in the traditional knock out stages.
So in theory we a could finish 7th, qualify and just need to finish in the top 8 to stay there.
If you finish in the top 8 your coefficient points increase so once you’re in, it’s very hard to be out of it.
Hence the American model, keeping the rich rich and making it very hard for anyone else to break in.
Use Bayern Munich as an example. From 2024 it would almost be impossible for them to not qualify.
Let’s say they had a disaster and finished 7th; they would qualify based on their European history.
The TV contract is so big Mr Kroenke no longer has to worry about where we finish.
This is another step towards how the Kroenke Family would love the sport to turn into; a franchise based money-making machine…
Do You Like The New Version Of The Champions League?