The Premier League could secure a fifth Champions League spot every season even under watered down post-2024 reforms being approved by Uefa on Tuesday.
In response to a fan backlash and warnings of another Super League via the back door, club executives binned plans for new places based on clubs’ performances over five years.
Instead, under plans being ratified on Tuesday afternoon in Vienna, two extra spots will be awarded to nations who collectively performed best in Europe. This season, for example, that would mean an extra Champions League team each for England and Holland. In four or the last five years, England would have secured a fifth place. Sources told Telegraph Sport that an agreement had been reached between Uefa and the European Club Association, which had been the leading champion for the controversial five-year club coefficient.
The plans bring to an end two years of bitter debate and discussion between clubs, leagues, Uefa and fans over the format for the competition from 2024-25. Clubs finally agreed during crunch talks late on Monday that new places must be handed out on “more recent sporting merit”.
The Premier League had been among competitions fiercely opposed to the coefficient places when the competition expands to 36 clubs. Several Premier League fan groups put their names to an open letter to ECA clubs on Monday, saying the increase in matches would lead to “boring” and “no stakes” matches and would make increased demands on supporters during a cost-of-living crisis.
The letter described the coefficient proposal as “fundamentally unfair” and “anti-competitive”. “They represent an obvious attempt to reward underperforming elite clubs at the expense of others and bring into question the ECA clubs’ rhetoric around the Super League,” the letter added.
Under the new format, the Champions League will expand from 32 to 36 teams as part of a “Swiss model”, in which all teams compete in a single league. Teams will play eight or ten matches against opponents of different ranks to decide which go through to the knockout rounds.
Telegraph Sport forecast last week that the coefficient proposals were facing a rethink, and one source close to the ECA expressed confidence on Monday night that there would be a unanimous position by the time Uefa’s executive committee gathers in Vienna, Austria, on Tuesday afternoon.