The UEFA Group Stage Dream May Become A Reality

The dream of playing in the group stages of a UEFA competition may become a reality

The New Saints’ Chief Operating Officer, Ian Williams, has spent the past few days at the 21st European Club Association (ECA) General Assembly in Split, Croatia.

Clubs were informed of the important work undertaken over recent months, including the re-vamping of Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations, and the future of UEFA’s club competitions, specifically that of the UEFA Europa League 2021-24 and the ongoing work around the future of the transfer system.


UEFA Europa League 2021-24
Clubs were provided with an update on on-going discussions between ECA and UEFA relating to the future of the UEFA Europa League post-2021 and possible changes that may be introduced to the competition.

Following demands by ECA members to increase the overall number of clubs participating in UEFA’s club competitions, the preferred option is to develop a third-tier competition of 32 teams, bringing the overall number of participants in UEFA’s club competitions to 96 with 32 participating teams per competition.

A determining factor in reaching this position was the need to enhance the overall value of the competitions. Following the update, ECA members were provided with an opportunity to share their feedback and opinions with Executive Board members.

Further discussions will take place between ECA and UEFA, with a final decision on the future of UEFA’s Club Competitions expected to be reached before the end of the year.


Future of the transfer system
Clubs were provided with a detailed update on the work of the FIFA Task Force on transfers both in relation to content and process. A number of important components including agent activities, the protection and incentivisation of training clubs, the transfer of minors, loans and squad sizes and transfer widows are all being addressed as part of a proposal to adapt certain aspects of the transfer system.

Clubs were reminded of ECA’s wish to see modifications to the system introduced in a manner which is evolutionary rather than revolutionary and which ensures the safeguarding of the main principles that underpin the current system agreed back in 2001.

The task-force, which includes two ECA Executive Board members Edwin van der Sar and Michael Gerlinger, will continue its work in the coming weeks. Once its work is completed, proposals will be passed on to the FIFA Football Stakeholders’ Committee for approval with a final endorsement required by the FIFA Council, before new regulations come into force.

Many thanks to Ian Williams for the update.


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