advantages and disadvantages of the “incomplete championship”

UEFA is expected to ratify in March a reform of the Champions League format which would come into force in 2024. The group stage is over with eight groups of four teams competing in a mini-championship by two-way matches ( six days, 96 games in total): it would be replaced by a single championship of 36 teams.

Each team would only play against a small number N of opponents (once each, no round trip), i.e. 18 N matches spread over N days: a format inspired by the “Swiss system” (so named because it was used). for the first time at a chess championship in Zurich at the end of the 19th century), which we call “incomplete championship”.

UEFA seems to have set its sights on N = 10: ten league days for a total of 180 matches, almost double the current format. It is interesting to note that in ten days we have a classic group stage with six groups of six teams (ten days, 180 matches).

The abandonment of the classic group stage and the adoption of the incomplete championship are therefore not the result of an insurmountable constraint linked to the calendar or the number of teams entered, but are indeed deliberate choices of UEFA. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of this new format?

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also UEFA plans to reform Champions League, under threat of split

Not too many matches to establish a first ranking

The major advantage of the incomplete championship is that it makes it possible to establish a complete classification of a large number of teams, without having to organize too many days of the championship or too many matches (“only” 10 days and 180 matches in the place of 35 days and 630 matches).

However, it is useful, before the knockout phase, to have a complete classification of qualified teams. At the moment, we only have internal rankings for the 8 groups: one group a posteriori low qualifies as many teams (2) for the knockout stage as a group a posteriori statement.

With the new formula, 4 teams which, in the current format, could all have found themselves in a strong group, can hope to qualify all four.

Another advantage of this format is its flexibility: if UEFA wants to go, for example, to 40 teams and 12 matches, no problem! This format is also interesting for spectators, since it offers a greater variety of matches: each team meets a new opponent every day.

No more matches between big cars

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