UEFA are considering whether to radically overhaul the Champions League for the remainder of the 2019/20 season, with the possibility of ‘one-legged games’ being introduced to speed up the competition.
European football’s governing body are currently planning to see the Champions League and Europa League return in August, with UEFA’s ideal outcome being to see both competitions finish with their normal format.
But Marca reports UEFA also have a back up plan which could see ‘one-legged games’ introduced, as well as a ‘final four’ which would take place in Istanbul.
All matches will be played behind closed doors regardless of what happens with the format of both competitions, but Marca’s report suggests the prospect of ‘one-legged games’ being introduced at the quarter final stage could be popular among the remaining teams.
At this stage it’s only hypothetical, but it’s a step which would help to limit the amount of travel teams would have to undergo in the Champions League and Europa League – thus limiting the amount of exposure players and staff could have with coronavirus.
One major stumbling block UEFA could face with their back-up plan, just like domestic leagues are realising, is a dispute with broadcasters.
Companies have already paid fees for a set amount of matches, so ‘one-legged games’ could prompt broadcasters to demand money back from European football’s governing body.
UEFA are expected to make their final decision on 17 June.
Eight teams in the Champions League still need to play the second leg of their last 16 matches to determine which clubs have reached the quarter final stage – including Manchester City, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Bayern Munich.
Paris Saint-Germain, Atlético Madrid, RB Leipzig and Atalanta have already reached the next stage of the competition.
In the Europa League, meanwhile, the likes of Sevilla, Roma, Inter and Getafe still haven’t played the first leg of their last 16 matches.