UEFA and the European Clubs’ Association are close to an agreement that would see four extra match dates added to the Champions League.
The changes could come into effect from 2024 after a development in talks between European football’s governing body and the organisation that represents the interests of the continent’s biggest clubs.
While two extra match dates could be created by playing last-16 fixtures over two weeks, rather than the current four, agreement is yet to be found on where in the calendar the new match days will be placed.
One suggestion is that the groups could be extended from four to six teams, although that would not achieve UEFA and the ECA’s desired aim of seeing the biggest teams play each other more often.
A proposal that would see this happen would be adopting a format similar to the 1992-93 Champions League, where the final eight sides were placed into two groups of four.
If the changes to the Champions League do come into effect, they could have implications for the EFL Cup, with teams competing in Europe’s biggest club competition possibly ending their participation.
Rick Parry, the new chairman of the EFL, told Sky Sports News last month:
“It clearly is a concern and is something that we are mindful of.
“I think we are unique in having a League Cup now. The French have done away with theirs, and obviously now with UEFA’s third-tier competition and the potential (Champions League) changes on the horizon – who knows what they will be – we are obviously watching intently and with great care to see what they may be and what impact they might have.”
UEFA have made no comment other to say they are “continuing to talk to stakeholders”, meaning any confirmation of changes may have to wait until UEFA’s meeting in Amsterdam in March.