Ce­ferin says Uefa may stick to one-legged knock­out stage

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Total Football - By Jeremy Wil­son chief sports re­porter

Uefa pres­i­dent Alek­sander Ce­ferin has in­di­cated that the men’s and women’s Cham­pi­ons League, and Europa League could, in fu­ture, be de­cided by a Su­per-Bowl style fi­nal week of sin­gle-game matches in a shared lo­ca­tion.

The coro­n­avirus pan­demic forced Uefa into their ex­cep­tional change of for­mat, with last night’s men’s Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal in Lisbon round­ing off a se­ries of one­legged quar­ter and semi-fi­nals.

Ce­ferin said that he found the for­mat “more in­ter­est­ing” than the tra­di­tional home and away two-legged for­mat and sug­gested that a sin­gle city could hold just the semi­fi­nals and fi­nal over sin­gle matches.

“It’s one of the in­ter­est­ing things that was brought by this pan­demic,” Ce­ferin said. “We had to do a sys­tem like that. We had to play this way, but at the end, we see it’s a very in­ter­est­ing sys­tem.

“It’s quite com­pli­cated to place a fi­nal eight in the cal­en­dar. But we saw that peo­ple want ex­cit­ing matches. Even though you have less matches, the value can be higher if pro­moted prop­erly,”

The Europa League and Cham­pi­ons League semi-fi­nals and fi­nal could quite fea­si­bly be held over seven nights in one city and po­ten­tially cre­ate the sort of global buzz of the Su­per Bowl when a se­ries of events all build up through the week into the show­piece fi­nal.

The women’s Cham­pi­ons League is fol­low­ing a sim­i­lar for­mat, held in San Se­bas­tian and Bil­bao and cul­mi­nat­ing in the fi­nal on Sun­day.

“You are in the cen­tre of at­ten­tion for a week of the whole world and this might be a fan­tas­tic thing, but we have to see,” Ce­ferin said.

Uefa has al­ready been ex­plor­ing how to change the Cham­pi­ons League for­mat af­ter 2024 and fur­ther dis­cus­sions will be held next month.

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