UEFA are planning a ‘summer Champions League’ to replace the current International Champions Cup tournament.
Some of the biggest teams in Europe are invited by American promoters Relevent Sports to travel around the world and take part in the pre-season competition.
But that could be about to change.
UEFA are prepared to back a change that would see participants qualify via league position – effectively making the tournament a mini Champions League.
It’s believed groups of three teams would compete for a place in subsequent knockout rounds, which isn’t dissimilar to the European Cup format.
UEFA would also endorse the competition and attach their branding to it, but would continue to allow Relevent Sports to run it.
According to the Daily Mail, there’s a potential start date as early as 2021 and the deal would run for at least eight years.
The pre-season tournament will initially be held in the United States, with plans to move around the globe to Asia already mooted.
Should UEFA go ahead and back these plans, it would put them in direct competition with FIFA and the Club World Cup.
From 2021, that competition is set to be expanded to 24 teams (12 from Europe), with fixtures being played over June and July, rather than in December.
FIFA’s new tournament will only take place every four years, while UEFA’s is set to run ahead of every season.
Big clubs, including those from the Premier League, are said to be keen on the latter proposal as it would give them extra fixtures and revenue going forward.
While the plans are yet to be formalised, it’s believed UEFA’s involvement in the process is significant and if Relevent Sports get their way, we’ll be seeing a mini Champions League very soon.