Football: Soccer-UEFA’s Ceferin favours Champions League Final Four format


(Reuters) – UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said on Friday he was in favour of a Final Four format for the Champions League as it could generate revenues and considerable excitement over an entire week each year.

European soccer’s governing body last month made some changes to its top continental club competition by approving a new format from the 2024-25 season with 36 clubs and teams set to play four more matches compared to the current format.

But the final phase of the competition remains a knockout stage from the round of 16 onwards, with a final hosted each year by a different city.

“I’m in favour of a ‘Final 4’ in the Champions League. It could be great and effective in terms of revenue if done right. But everyone has to give their point of view,” Ceferin told French newspaper L’Equipe.

“We are discussing it, but it is not decided. We liked the ‘Final 8’ last year in Portugal.”

Due to months-long interruptions in play because of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, UEFA had to reschedule the competition and scheduled the final phase in Portugal.

“But a ‘Final 8’ is over two weeks and that’s too much. For a ‘Final 4’, after 2024, there are advantages and disadvantages,” added Ceferin.

“On the one hand, it can be a fantastic event with a football week complemented by other events like concerts. But we lose matches, especially at home, for the clubs,” said Ceferin.

By playing the semi-finals in one location, teams involved would lose out on revenues had they featured in two legs.

UEFA last month had to fend off an attempt by 12 top European clubs to form a breakaway European Super League.

Manchester City face Chelsea in the Champions League final in Porto on Saturday. Both teams were among the 12 who failed in their attempt to set up the breakaway league.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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