Europe is set to introduce a third club competition from the 2021-22 season, the head of the association representing Europe’s biggest clubs announced on Tuesday.
Before Confederation of African Football (CAF) decided to copy the model of UEFA, it was running three continental competitions from 1992 to 2004 before it merged the CAF Cup with the then African Cup Winners’ Cup competition to form the CAF Confederation Cup, the continent’s version of Europa League of UEFA.
According to reports from Reuters, European Club Association (ECA) Chairman Andrea Agnelli told his members at a meeting in Split, Croatia that the new event would bring the “overall number of clubs” involved in UEFA club competition to 96, the ECA said on Twitter.
“Pending approval of the UEFA executive committee, the ‘green light’ has been given to introduce a third competition, bringing the overall number of clubs to 96, as of the 2021-22 season,” Agnelli said.
Agnelli is also president of Juventus and sits on the UEFA executive committee, occupying one of two seats allocated to club representatives. UEFA was not immediately available for comment.
Europe currently has two club competitions — the Champions League, which features 32 teams in the group stage, and the second-tier Europa League, which has 48.
Europe used to have a third competition for winners of domestic cup competitions, known as the Cup Winners’ Cup, but it was abolished in 1999. Domestic cup winners now enter the Europa League.
The ECA has previously called for more clubs to be involved in European competitions and a “greater certainty of matches” for participating clubs.
Agnelli also repeated his call from last year for a drastic overhaul of the international match calendar, which is drawn up by global soccer body FIFA and allocates dates for national team games.
“A detailed assessment of the existing International Match Calendar is required prior to presenting a new model post-2024. The current model needs modernising,” he said.