The Champions League final could be played in New York from 2024, with UEFA planning a complete overhaul of Europe’s biggest club competition.
Instead of eight groups of four, the teams would compete in a large group, using the “Swiss system”, but another major change could be the location of the final.
According to the Sun, UEFA has started to pitch the idea of bringing the centerpiece of European football to the Big Apple for the first overhaul final.
The next finals are already scheduled in Istanbul, St. Petersburg, Munich and Wembley, in the current format, but nothing has been decided afterwards.
This is not the first time that discussions about holding the final abroad have been offered, with the United States also being the venue for previous discussions on the possibility.
In November 2019, it was reported that TEAM Marketing AG, which represents UEFA’s business interests, had spoken to potential partners and media rights holders of the plan.
Claims go so far as to say that Metlife Stadium, home to the New York Giants and New York Jets and twice hosted WrestleMania, is their preferred location.
An ‘American football insider’ told the newspaper: ‘We have seen crowds of 100,000 or more for preseason friendlies involving big European teams here.
“On a business level, it makes perfect sense for UEFA to explore this.”
If the final took place at 3 p.m. local New York time, it would start at 8 p.m. in the UK and 9 p.m. in mainland Europe, the usual kick-off time for the final.
However, this would of course affect fans wishing to travel for the game as it would be further out than many places on the continent.
In 2016, President Aleksander Ceferin discussed this possibility, saying, “I think it might be an idea in the future, but we need to talk about it.
“Going from Portugal to Azerbaijan, for example, is almost the same as going to New York. For the fans, that’s no problem.”
In 2019, there were a lot of travel issues for Arsenal and Chelsea fans as their Europa League final was staged in Baku, but Azerbaijan have yet to host the Champions League final. .
The “ Swiss system ” would mean that each team is drawn to play 10 of the 36 other teams in the same group, even though the teams would still be seeded, and the teams with the best records would advance to the round of 16.
The increase in the number of teams would also mean the possibility of the extra spots going to teams with “ historical coefficients ”, in order to protect the bigger teams from missing out on the competition.