The dangerous evolution of UEFA Club Competitions

Great Competitions that have fallen out of balance

UEFA Club competitions have been one of the great footballing success stories over the past three decades.

But international club competitions are only as strong as the domestic leagues that are the lifeblood of the game.  And recent evolutions of the UEFA Club Competitions formats have put this essential balance at risk:

From cycle 2015-18 to cycle 2018-21: what has changed

  • The top four ranked associations have more direct access spots to UCCs compared to lower ranked associations
  • There´s a growing gap between clubs, and the new “Coefficient Pillar” (as distribution criteria) is widening this gap by favouring clubs that repeatedly participate in the UCL/UEL or Clubs which have historically won titles.
  • This new distribution model further increases the economic/financial differences between Clubs, with even more resources going to  top clubs compared to rest of clubs, including those participating in broad UEFA Club Competitions.
  • Solidarity in percentage terms has fallen, contributing further to a growing financial gap between clubs of the same league.

The current model is increasing challenges for competitive balance in domestic club leagues

Download: European Leagues Analysis on UCC Cycle 2015-18 – 2018-21

Why were the initial ECA 2024-2027 Proposals Dismissed by all Stakeholders?

  • A closed access to Champions League would destroy the essence of our football system whereby clubs qualify based on their performance in domestic competitions
  • It could totally shift the interest, development and growth from ‘domestic’ to ‘international’ competitions
  • It increases the number of matches and match-days for Champions League which will add to an already congested calendar;
  • Enlarged European competitions would increase the value of UCC at the expense of domestic competitions and the vast majority of clubs
  • It leads to a bigger gap between the elite clubs and all other clubs in many leagues which will negatively affect the excitement and predictability of matches and competitions.

These proposals were a non-starter because they would seriously challenge the competitive balance in European domestic club football.

Download: European Leagues Analysis on ECA Proposals post 2024