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UEFA president considers keeping the format of a match


UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin during an interview with The Associated Press in Lisbon, Sunday 23 August 2020.


UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin will hold meetings to discuss whether to retain the elimination format of a match that has been used to complete the Champions League and Europa League seasons that were affected by the coronavirus pandemic, although he noted on Sunday that could only be used for the semifinals.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Ceferin commented that people in and outside of soccer contacted him to say they were “extremely excited” by the quarter-final and semi-final format that he abandoned the home and away games.

“I have to say that this one-game system seems more interesting to me than the other two-game system,” Ceferin told the AP prior to the Champions League final between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich.

Ceferin said it would consult extensively before proposing any permanent changes to the format.

“It’s one of the interesting things that came out of this pandemic,” said Ceferin. “We had to make a system like that. We had to play this way, but in the end, we see that it is an interesting system, “he added.

“Currently, it is quite difficult to put a quarter-final on the calendar. But we see that people want exciting matches, that in one match all teams can beat all teams in the Champions League or Europa League. So it is something that must be considered for the future … I think in September or October we will have to start talking seriously, “he said.

Ceferin is not concerned that reducing the number of knockout games could have a significant financial impact for UEFA.

“Even if you have fewer games, the value can be higher if it is promoted in the right way,” he said. “I see my friends in football and they have called and sent me messages that they are extremely excited about this system.”

Gathering eight teams in Lisbon to conclude the Champions League season seemed feasible only because fans were not allowed in the two stadiums where the matches were played, that as part of the restrictions implemented by the coronavirus pandemic. That meant that the Portuguese authorities did not have to deal with rival factions gathering in the streets.

A one-game semi-final format might be easier to adopt in a single city for a week to create buzz similar to that of the NFL’s Super Bowl.

“You are the center of attention for a week around the world and that could be a fantastic thing, but we have to see,” said Ceferin. “The calendar is very complicated, the players are active almost 365 days a year. So we have to see how we do it, if we do it. “