Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has hit out at the revamped Champions League model that was passed quietly amid the chaos of the Super League this week, branding it “the lesser of two evils”.
The Super League, of which Manchester City were one of the 12 founding clubs before becoming the first to pull out, was dissolved after just 48 hours of its creation following widespread protests from across the world.
It’s premise was that the 12 founders, plus three others, would have guaranteed qualification to the competition annually with no threat of relegation.
And while it is now off the table as far as Premier League clubs are concerned, the new Champions League regulations have now come under scrutiny for their similarity to the Super League rules.
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The new regulations will see the tournament expanded to 36 teams, with two of the four new slots given to clubs on historical merit if they failed to qualify for the Champions League through the usual route.
For example, if the current season was to end now and the regulations were in play for next year, Liverpool, who are currently seventh in the Premier League, and Borussia Dortmund, who are fifth in Germany, would automatically gain entry.
There will also be an extra 100 games played in total, with all teams playing a minimum of 10 matches during the group stage, rather than the current six – something Gundogan took exception to.
“With all the Super League stuff going on… can we please also speak about the new Champions League format?” he tweeted.
“More and more and more games, is no one thinking about us players? The new UCL format is just the lesser of the two evils in comparison to the Super League…
The UCL format right now works great and that is why it’s the most popular club competition in the world – for us players and for the fans.”