New UCL format 'just lesser of two evils' in comparison to Super League: Gundogan

ANI
·2-min read
Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan
Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan

Manchester [UK], April 23 (ANI): Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan feels the new Champions League format is "just lesser of the two evils" in comparison to the European Super League.

The European Super League's announcement on Sunday, made by 12 founding clubs including Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur, was met with widespread criticism.

And on Tuesday all six Premier League clubs, involved in the proposed Super League, pulled out of the competition. Amid the chaos, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) on Monday announced the new Champions League format which will come in force from the 2024 season.

Gundogan expressed his concerns about the new format as he feels the previous version was "great" for both players and fans.

"With all the Super League stuff going on... can we please also speak about the new Champions League format? More and more and more games, is no one thinking about us players?" Gundogan said in a tweet.

"The new UCL format is just the lesser of the two evils in comparison to the Super League. The UCL format right now works great and that is why it's the most popular club competition in the world - for us players and for the fans," he added.

Champions League will now be competed between 36 teams, adding four more teams to the competition. All 36 teams are brought together into one pool instead of the current system of four-team groups.

"Taking the total number of teams from 32 to 36 in the UEFA Champions League, the biggest change will see a transformation from the traditional group stage to a single league stage including all participating teams. Every club will now be guaranteed a minimum of 10 league stage games against 10 different opponents (five home games, five away) rather than the previous six matches against three teams, played on a home and away basis," UEFA said in a statement.

"The top eight sides in the league will qualify automatically for the knockout stage, while the teams finishing in ninth to 24th place will compete in a two-legged play-off to secure their path to the last 16 of the competition," it added.

Similar format changes will also be applied to the UEFA Europa League (8 matches in the league stage) and UEFA Europa Conference League (6 matches in the league stage). Subject to further discussions and agreements, these two competitions may also be expanded to a total of 36 teams each in the league stage.

Qualification for the UEFA Champions League will continue to be open and earned through a team's performance in domestic competitions. (ANI)