Italian Serie A guaranteed 4 UCL spots as UEFA performs some major modifications
Italian Serie A will finally have 4 spots in the UEFA Champions League again from the 2018-19 season after a prolonged fight and campaigning on and off the field.
It all started from the middle of the last year. The authorities of the 4 leading football leagues in Europe(Spanish La Liga,English Premier League, German Bundesliga and Italian Serie A) almost revolted against UEFA demanding 4 automatic group spots in the elitist club competition in the world citing the market value of these leagues and the contribution of their clubs to European Football as a whole historically. Italy was obviously the most pro-active among the four as they would be the major beneficiaries. The associations even indirectly threatened the elite body of football in Europe of not participating in UEFA tournaments anymore and formed blueprints of a continental tournament of their own named European Super League.
UEFA observing the circumstantial compulsions and sensitivity of the issue realised a remodelling of the UCL was required and organised a group of board meetings on a war foot basis.
In 25th August last year, UEFA declared there would be 4 teams getting entry from the aforementioned top 4 leagues in the group stages of UCL and consequently the qualification process would also get restructured. But they added that the declaration was only provision and the final inference would be drawn in 2017 based upon the status of the Leagues in the UEFA co-efficients.
Finally, UEFA has declared yesterday that the 4 spots of the top 4 leagues are confirmed in UCL from the 2018-19 season which obviously is being considered to be a big boost for Calcio specifically. Arguably the most historical and prestigious football league in the world is currently in doldrums and if properly managed then that additional UCL spot can do a world of good to Serie A which is currently standing on an important juncture of its history.
The UEFA arrived at the inference after the statistical observation of the latest UEFA league coefficient which shows that Italy’s nearest rivals for the 4th spot-France and Russia will not be able to catch-up with them by the end of this season irrespective of the continental performances of their clubs. UEFA said they also took historical achievements in consideration while taking the decision.
The latest UEFA League coefficient table looks like this:
Rank Country League Points
1 Spain 101.856
2 Germany 79.212
3 England 74.391
4 Italy 71.832
5 France 54.999
6 Russia 50.532
7 Portugal 49.332
8 Ukraine 42.633
9 Belgium 42.000
10 Turkey 38.000
UEFA said in a statement,”A new four pillar financial distribution system(Participation fee in the competition, performance in the competition, individual club coefficient and market price) will give sporting performances better reward.”
In the current format EPL, La Liga and German Bundesliga have 3 automatic spots for UCL and the 4th team in the league have to undergo qualification rounds. In the case of Serie A it is 2 automatic places and one for the qualifiers.
But the new format will see the following restructurings or modifications:
● EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A will have 4 automatic spots in the group stages of UCL.
● France and Russia will have 2 automatic places and one team will enter qualifiers.
● Portugal, Ukraine, Belgium and Turkey will have 1 automatic spot and 1 for the qualifiers.
● The remaining spots will be filled through qualifiers which will include other lower league teams as usual.
● The UEL winner will get direct entry into the group stage of next season’s UCL (Currently UEL winners have to play qualifiers for UCL group stages unless their national league table of the previous season permits them the entry)
These changes will be implemented from the 2018-19 season and will be existent for 3 seasons after which there will be a major renovation in the formats.
This is seen as a major step by the football fraternity and the domination and influence of the ‘Fab 4’ in the curriculum of UEFA have been established once again.