UEFA considering change to Champions League format

European soccer ruling body, UEFA, is considering changing the format of the Champions League.

Reports have suggested some clubs are pushing for the competition to be revamped to ensure more blockbusting matches at an even more lucrative group stage.

This could involve an extra knock-out round being played early in the tournament to leave 16 teams to go forward to a group stage featuring two pools of eight.

None of this is definitive and with the current TV and commercial rights cycle having only just begun, no changes would take place until the 2018-19 season.

Nevertheless, discussions between clubs and UEFA, the European governing body, on the future are likely to take place this year.

A spokesperson for the European Club Association, which represents the interests of some of the continent’s top clubs, said “There’s a lot of discussion around the future of European competitions at the moment, as always ahead of a new competition cycle.

“Discussions are taking place at different levels, but, for the moment, nothing concrete was brought up at ECA. We are at a very early stage and no final decision is expected before autumn this year.”

The ideas have emerged just weeks after five of England’s biggest clubs – Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool – denied they were involved in discussions for a breakaway European Super League.

The clubs had met in London with representatives of Relevent Sports, organisers of the International Champions Cup, and talks had been primarily about their involvement in that pre-season tournament.