Former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has proposed a new format for the Champions League, implementing 36 teams and ten group stage matches.
The Ajax chief, 50, is thought to be the man behind the new format that’s set to begin from 2024.
The Champions League, widely regarded as the most prestigious club football competition, currently has eight groups consisting of four players. Each group plays home and away for six matches before reaching the knockout stage.
This new format will see teams play ten matches against each other. Five games will be played at home, and five away.
The order of each team’s progress is determined by their position in the table. The top eight teams will automatically go through, with the 16 remaining teams going into a playoff round.
Van der Sar’s model is said to be the primary choice by Uefa – but he isn’t taking full credit for the concept.
“I wasn’t the only man, you always speak to advisors and look at how we can do something new,” he said via The Sun.
“It was about playing more meaningful European matches and how can you do that without denuding the quality in the group stages.
“A couple of guys came up with this system and I was happy to send it to Uefa and for this to be a way forward.
What is Edwin van der Dar’s favorite moment wearing a United shirt? Let us know in the comments section.
“We also wanted something that would be good for clubs from mid-sized countries who may be big brands but are still coming from a small market.”
The former Fulham stopper also conceded that getting the idea approved was tough going.
“But it used to be just knockouts until 30 or so years ago, and then group stages came in so this is an evolution of the system we have been playing in for a long time and trying to create more possibilities for games without creating dead games.
“Sometimes if you win four games and have 12 points you are already done. Under the new system, you really have to keep on going, to reach the top eight or the top 16.”