The Union of European Football Association (UEFA) decided to reduce the value of prizes for the Champions League and Europa League over the next five seasons. The move follows in the wake of the severe financial repercussions of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the UEFA.
UEFA informed its members that it lost a total of £514m following the decline in broadcast income and sponsorship deals, according to reports in the UK’s The Times newspaper. The reports added that the significant financial losses occurred after the knockout stages of competitions were delayed last season.
The two European championships were suspended in March once the full scale of the global pandemic was realised, adding to the long list of sporting events and competitions that were also cancelled. Matches for the competitions only resumed in August, after the seasons of all major domestic championships in Europe ended.
The knockout rounds were held without fans in neutral stadiums, with each round seeing only one match played instead of the usual form of two-leg matches.
It has also been reported that English clubs anticipate their revenues from broadcast TV and prize money could drop by as much as 4%.
UEFA is studying proposals to reconfigure the Champions League, including expanding the continental championship to 36 teams, to satisfy the demands of the largest number of clubs in Europe, starting the 2024-2025 season.
Following the increase in the number of competing teams, two proposals have been put forward for the new tournament format. The first proposal will see the 36 teams divided into six groups, with each team playing 10 matches, divided into five home and five away matches.
The second proposal will see each team play 10 matches with 10 different other teams, according to the classification of the teams similar to the “Swiss-system tournament” or the NBA.
Britain’s The Telegraph newspaper has indicated that the second proposal is currently receiving more support, and will help increase the number of matches between major teams in the group stage. Although the final decision will be taken by UEFA officials in 2021, the increased number of group stage matches will make the Champions League more attractive to viewers.