Belfast Telegraph

Ed Woodward has his say on the proposals to change Champions League’s format

The Manchester United chief has said the proposals are “interesting but there’s a lot of work to do”.

Ed Woodward is keeping an open mind on any changes to the Champions League (Martin Rickett/PA)
Ed Woodward is keeping an open mind on any changes to the Champions League (Martin Rickett/PA)

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward believes the radical changes being explored to the format of continental club competitions are “partly driven by domestic leagues across Europe not necessarily thriving”.

Moving Champions League games to the weekend and introducing a promotion and relegation system are reported to be two of the ideas that have been floated in UEFA proposals which could come into effect in 2024.

Woodward is keeping an open mind on the potential upheaval to Europe’s elite club competitions, which could lead to an increase in the number of featured teams.

Speaking on a conference call to United’s investors, he said: “This is partly driven by domestic leagues across Europe not necessarily thriving and there being a desire from the clubs that are toward the top of those leagues to play more European games, which perhaps are more competitive.

“I think there is drive from UEFA, which is laudable, which is to try to give greater access to more teams.

“If you look at the year just about to finish, 80 teams competed in the two competitions and the proposal for (2024) is 128 teams so a greater than 50 per cent increase in the number of teams playing in Europe.

“There are other factors as well, from our perspective we view these proposals as interesting but there’s a lot of work to do with stakeholders to assess this.

“We’re doing that ourselves together with our colleagues in the Premier League and the ECA (European Club Association).

“From a timeline perspective we can expect to hear more and more feedback on progress around this through 2019 and so therefore maybe clarity and somewhere around from six to nine months from now.”

PA

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