The renewal of the Champions League could lead to Premier League clubs being forced into qualifying rounds
Refurbishment Champions League could see Premier League clubs forced into qualifying rounds under new ‘Copenhagen Access Model’ supported by Ajax and Celtic
- Premier League teams who are eligible for the Champions League can get a makeover
- FC Copenhagen has proposed at least one qualification round for teams qualifying from the top divisions in England, Spain, Germany and Italy
- Ajax and Celtic, currently navigating through qualifications, would prefer the reform
A proposal for the Champions League could force the top four in the Premier League to navigate a qualifying round to reach the group stage.
The current format ensures that the four main players in England, Spain, Italy and Germany have direct access to the group stage of the tournament.
But, according to the Athletic, Danish champions FC Copenhagen have made a proposal that would take away the free pass for those parties.
A proposed reform of the Champions League could lead to Premier League teams being placed in qualifying rounds before the group stage, depending on their European performance
Both Ajax and Celtic, who regularly navigate through the qualifying steps, are supposed to support the proposed reform of the tournament.
The way the Copenhagen reform works is that each eligible party would be “ranked” from one to 79, which determines their outcomes in European competition over the past 10 seasons.
Once the numbers are cracked, the 22 sides that are lowest on the list are entered in the first qualifying round, the next 13 sides go to the second round, 12 more teams go to the third round, 12 in the last play off-round and the top 20 on the list of participants goes directly to the group phases.
RB Leipzig is one of the parties throughout Europe who should navigate early in the qualification
If the Copenhagen system had been in place for the 2019-2020 edition, all four English parties would have been included in the top 20 places.
The idea is likely to be opposed by Premier League teams who are opposed to giving up direct access to the group stage.
The athletic detail of how the Premier League “believes it is guaranteed by European competitions” – the body that represents the national competitions on the continent – that the existing four places “will not be endangered.”
Seats are currently allocated according to the club coefficient of a country, but the proposed change would be detrimental to parties such as Leicester City and RB Leipzig of the Bundesliga, both of which had no historical success before qualifying for the Champions League next season.
Leicester would enter the first or second round and would have a much more difficult task to reach the group stage.
The Copenhagen model would be harmful to parties such as Leicester City who have to qualify
Atalanta, approaching for the first time at a quarter-final berth, should start their season in the first qualifying round.
The idea behind it is to remove punishment from parties that are consistently eligible, but see that their coefficient is hampered by poor performance of parties in their own country.
In 2019, Juventus president Andrea Agnelli offered a reform that went the other way in an attempt to keep 24 of the 32 teams in the Champions League in place from season to season.
There would then be a promotion and relegation with the Europa League, but that idea was quickly rejected by peers.