Uefa say final eight format may return for 2024 Champions and Europa Leagues
Bosses at European football’s ruling body Uefa say a “final eight” knockout tournament will be considered as a way to end the Champions League and Europa League from 2024.
The one-game shoot-out from the quarter-finals was adopted for the 2020 competition after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted games.
Uefa’s deal with TV broadcasters means the traditional two-legged system will be maintained for the 2020/21 tournament but Uefa executives admit there could be a change of format for new TV contracts.
“A good rule is to never exclude something which proves valuable or has potential,” said Giorgio Marchetti, Uefa’s deputy general secretary.
“We know there are many elements that need to be taken into account, such as calendar and organisational constraints, fans’ involvement and economic implications. But we will for sure study this format and its variations for our upcoming discussions.”
In 2020, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Lyon, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, RB Leipzig, Atalanta and Atletico Madrid descended on the Portuguese capital Lisbon for the last eight in the Champions League. Bayern Munich won their sixth European crown after beating Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in the final.
The German cities of Cologne, Duisburg, Düsseldorf and Gelsenkirchen hosted the eight-team conclusion of the Europa League. Sevilla took the honours after conquering Inter Milan 3-2.
“Single knockout matches obviously favour uncertainty and emotions,” added Marchetti. “We received great feedback from clubs, broadcasters and other partners as well as from the fans.
"The circumstances made this format a must but the result could not be better as well as the degree of satisfaction.”
The opening round of this season's European football competitions take place this week against a backdrop of curfews, lockdowns and rising numbers of coronavirus cases.
"There are many restrictions and a strict protocol to apply with an incredible number of tests on all teams but these difficulties don’t scare us," added Marchetti.
“Everybody watched the final eight tournaments in August. What almost nobody knows is that from the beginning of August almost 500 Uefa matches have been played."
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