UEFA to launch third competition
The Cup Winners' Cup ran for almost 40 years before being abandoned in 1999 at a time when the Champions League was being expanded
European Club Association (ECA) chairman Andrea Agnelli has said that UEFA are clearing the way for the return of a third club competition, two decades after the disappearance of the Cup Winners' Cup. Agnelli, who is also on UEFA's club competitions committee as well as being chairman of Juventus, said at the ECA's General Assembly in Split, Croatia, on Tuesday, that "the 'green light' has been given to introduce a third competition...as of the 2021/22 season".
The move would have to be validated at a future meeting of UEFA's Executive Committee, with the ECA later saying they expected a decision to be reached "before the end of the year". In a statement sent to AFP, European football's governing body confirmed only that it is "constantly reviewing the format of its competitions and is looking at a variety of options in this respect".
"UEFA is discussing various ideas within its club competitions committee before any decision on potential changes would be made," it added. Agnelli indicated the move would mean a total of 96 teams being involved across the three competitions. With 48 sides currently involved in the Europa League group stage, that would likely mean that competition being reduced to 32 teams, with the same number competing in the Champions League group stage and the new competition.
"Following demands by ECA Members to increase the overall number of clubs participating in UEFA's club competitions, the preferred option is to develop a third-tier competition of 32 teams," said a statement published by the ECA. "A determining factor in reaching this position was the need to enhance the overall value of the competitions."
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin had played down media reports on the subject when speaking to journalists in Monaco last month. "They are just discussions, is it better to have 64 in the Europa League or 32 and 32? They are just discussions," Ceferin said at the time. The Cup Winners' Cup ran for almost 40 years before being abandoned in 1999 at a time when the Champions League was being expanded.
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