The Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ clubs reportedly could all qualify for a revamped Champions League in the same season from 2024.
In an effort to see off the threat of a breakaway European Super League, UEFA’s latest blueprint for their premier competition could see Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham potentially play in the competition at the same time.
But, under the plans, the rest of the Premier League would still have to finish in the top four as is the case now to win a Champions League place.
The Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ could all potentially qualify for the Champions League in the same season under plans for a revamp of the competition from 2024 drawn up by UEFA
The planned changes could ensure Tottenham and Arsenal play in the tournament every year
According to The Sun, UEFA is working with the European Club Association, headed up by Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, to find an acceptable change to the current format to come in from 2024.
And it could reportedly lead to leading nations such as England being given up to six teams in the Champions League, which would take the form of a 36-team league.
The Premier League would receive its standard four places as is the case now. But two places would be left open to two clubs from across Europe with the highest coefficient score who had not already qualified.
This coefficient is based on a calculation of clubs’ results in UEFA competitions over the previous five seasons.
Liverpool and Man City have become accustomed to playing in Europe’s top tournament
Manchester United and Chelsea both rank highly in UEFA’s coefficient and could benefit
Current UEFA club coefficient
1. Bayern Munich
4. Real Madrid
5. Atletico Madrid
6. Manchester City
7. Paris Saint-Germain
8. Manchester United
12. Borussia Dortmund
13. Tottenham Hotspur
Source: UEFA website
At the moment, all of England’s ‘Big Six’ sit in the top 15 of this coefficient, meaning they would have every chance of sneaking into the new format of the Champions League even if they finished outside of the top four in the Premier League.
However, the next highest English team in the coefficient is Leicester City, down in 51st position, meaning they would have to crack the Premier League top four to make it.
The new plans would see everyone play 10 matches against different opponents – five at home and five away – with the top 16 in the league table advancing to the knockout stages.
UEFA hopes the changes will be agreed at April’s Congress of their 55 member nations.
But this expansion from six group-stage matches to 10 for each club has caused concerns over fixture scheduling, with four additional matchdays to squeeze into an already congested calendar.
If the ‘Big Six’ did all qualify for the Champions League, the FA Cup could have a path to the Europa League and the Carabao Cup a route into the new third-tier Europa Conference League.
This season, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea all made it through into the Champions League last-16 but Manchester United will drop into the Europa League after Christmas following their defeat by RB Leipzig this week.
They will join Arsenal, Tottenham and Leicester as Premier League clubs already playing in Europe’s secondary competition this season.
But the likes of Jamie Vardy’s Leicester and other smaller clubs would not stand to benefit