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And it doesn't involve a Toblerone....or an Alpenhorn

...and it works in chess.



"proposed new format may be complicated for fans to grasp"

which rules out rasellik, obvs, so what's not to like?



Ten group games against different teams in proposed Champions League shake-up

Martyn Ziegler, Chief Sports Reporter

Wednesday December 02 2020, 12.00am, The Times


Uefa is to hold talks this week on a proposed new Champions League format that would involve clubs playing ten different opponents in the group stage in a dramatic shake-up of the competition.




The “Swiss system” is understood to be Uefa’s favourite among several proposed reforms of the competition and an answer to the threat of a breakaway super league because it would lead to more group matches between teams from the big European leagues.

The model, to be used from 2024, would mean four more Champions League matches a season for each team than under the existing system where there are six group games, putting more pressure on the fixture calendar. It would almost certainly mean that English clubs in Europe would have to drop out of the League Cup and may result in an end to FA Cup replays.


Although the proposed new format may be complicated for fans to grasp initially it has the benefit of allowing more matches between the bigger teams and fewer meaningless group matches.


The Swiss system is often used in chess, while in football the Concacaf federation already uses it for some of its competitions in North and Central America and the Caribbean, and officials there say it helps to maintain interest until the end of the group stage.

The system would put 32 or 36 clubs in a single division. They would not all play each other, but a random draw would select ten matches — five at home and five away — for each club against opponents of varying strength based on seeding. The existing system has 32 clubs split into eight groups of four who play each other home and away.

The points from those ten matches for each club would be registered in a single league table, from which the top 16 would progress to the knockout rounds. The top club would play the team who finished 16th and the second-placed team would play the one that finished 15th, and so on.


Significantly, the European Club Association (ECA) and the European Leagues organisation both think that there is potential merit in the Swiss system. It is understood there is confidence that the format would be even more attractive to broadcasters due to a more exciting group phase.

Uefa is expected to present details of the proposed new model to European officials over the next two weeks. One source with knowledge of the proposal told The Times: “The top clubs want more matches against other clubs from the top leagues and this provides it.

“Although it might be more difficult for fans to understand at first, another advantage is that the group stage should be much more exciting than it is now.

“Every match should be significant because every place in the top 16 will be valuable in terms of the opponent in the next round and in terms of prize money. There is also an incentive of being “17th to 24th positions as they would go into in the Europa League knockout rounds.”


David Gill, England’s Uefa vice-president and treasurer of the European governing body, has declined to discuss the reform options but said that there were some “exciting” proposals and raised the question of whether Premier League clubs in Europe could still play in the League Cup if there are four more European matches.

He told The Times last week: “The FA has already reduced the number of FA Cup replays, [but] what happens with the League Cup? That question has been around for many years, and can compensation be looked at to help the EFL clubs?”

Gill also stressed that Uefa was determined to ensure that qualification for the Champions League remained overwhelmingly via domestic competitions.

Lars-Christer Olsson, the chairman of the European League group covering 29 nations, said the “Swiss system” would be more acceptable than that put forward by the ECA in 2019 that called for four groups of eight clubs, meaning 14 group games. He said: “The new proposals are much more realistic but what is important is protecting the access list to all the European competitions.”


How the ‘Swiss system’ could work in the Champions League

● There would be 32 or 36 teams in one division that is split into four pots of seeds

● A draw takes place to allocate opponents for each club to play ten matches. A top-seeded team would face two other top seeds, three each from pots two and three, and two more teams from the fourth seeds. Half the matches would be at home, half away.

● Results feed into a league table of all 32 teams with the top 16 going through to the knock-out rounds. The top of the league would play the team finishing 16th, second place v 15th and so on. The eight teams finishing in 17th to 24 places would go into the Europa League knockout competition.

● The final semi-finalists (or quarter-finalists) would qualify automatically for the following year’s Champions League.

The Times used a random draw generator to draw up potential opponents for two English clubs based on the seeding pots for this season’s Champions League (no English opponents permitted). It produced this outcome:

Liverpool (pot 1) would have matches against Real Madrid (pot 1), Paris Saint-Germain (pot 1), Borussia Dortmund (pot 2), Shakhtar Donetsk (pot 2), Ajax (pot 2), RB Leipzig (pot 3), Lazio (pot 3), Krasnodar (pot 3), Club Bruges (pot 4) and Rennes (pot 4).

A random draw for Manchester City (pot 2) would result in matches against Bayern Munich (pot 1), Porto (pot 1), Real Madrid (pot 1), Barcelona (pot 2), Borussia Dortmund (pot 2), Dynamo Kiev (pot 3), Inter Milan (pot 3), Lokmotiv Moscow (pot 4), Borussia Mönchengladbach (pot 4) and Ferencvaros (pot 4).

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Sounds a real money spinner for those who get to the group stages. Assuming there will still be qualifying rounds for our League, this could mean 8 qualifying round games followed by 10 group stages. Don't know how the Scottish authorities would take the withdrawal of Rangers from the league cup. Maybe Celtic are trialling it this season😊



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Radical Champions League plans get boost

Martyn Ziegler, Chief Sports Reporter

Thursday December 10 2020, 12.01am, The Times

Champions League




Uefa’s plans for a radical shake-up of the Champions League, with clubs playing ten matches in the group stage, have been boosted after the president of the European Leagues said that the extra games could be fitted into the calendar.

From 2024 Uefa is proposing a “Swiss system”, often used in chess, where 32 or 36 clubs in a single division would be drawn to play ten opponents of varying strength based on seeding.


The results would feed into one league table, which would determine progression to the Champions League knockout rounds. One model is for the top eight to qualify automatically for the last 16, with those in places nine to 24 playing off and the losers dropping down into the Europa League. Another model is for the top 16 to qualify.


It would require at least four extra match days compared with the present format but Lars-Christer Olsson, the president of the European Leagues organisation, which represents leagues across the Continent including the Premier League, said they could be accommodated — though it would almost certainly have an impact on FA Cup replays and the League Cup.

“I think it could be possible to squeeze another four dates into the calendar if we can see what kind of effect it is having on national team matches and other things,” Olsson said. “It needs to be part of our negotiations.”


A format with 36 teams instead of 32 would give more flexibility for Uefa to include clubs from mid-sized countries such as the Netherlands, who do not have an automatic spot.


Uefa will ensure that qualification remains tied to performance in domestic leagues but is likely to push for all semi-finalists to qualify for the following year’s group stage, possibly leading to up to a maximum of six clubs from a single country, though Olsson said the European Leagues would oppose that.


Another proposal would reserve two spots for the clubs with the highest Uefa coefficient who had not qualified for the group stage — which this season would have been Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur — but that is also likely to be opposed.

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5 minutes ago, alexscottislegend said:

I think cross-border leagues will have to happen eventually. Just think who we could be playing against intead of, say, Hamilton or Ross County.

Aye Switzerland's equivalent to Hamilton and County 😄

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