Why is the Champions League played in the evening?

Champions League - UEFA under pressure financially and in terms of time

UEFA does not want to play its club competitions until the end of the national league season. The pressure on UEFA is increasing in many areas - unusual solutions are emerging.

Which games are open

In the Champions League, only four out of eight participants in the quarter-finals have been determined: Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid, Leipzig and Atalanta Bergamo prevailed. In the remaining matches of the round of 16, the second legs are open, including that of Bayern Munich against Chelsea (first leg 3-0 for Bayern).

In the Europa League, not a single encounter has been decided in the round of 16 so far. Eintracht Frankfurt, VfL Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen are still waiting for their return legs. There were not even first legs in two matches.

When could be played

"If everything goes according to plan, we will end the competitions in August", said Ceferin in an interview with "beIn Sports" about the Champions League and the Europa League. August 2nd is probably the preferred date for the continuation. But can the schedule be kept?

At least the Bundesliga may currently be on the right track to end the season in June or July. But the other major leagues are still waiting: Spain, Italy, England - there is still no clear timetable for the major and most of the smaller leagues. In Italy, according to the latest plans, the league should play until August 20, five Italian teams are still in European competitions. There is uncertainty for UEFA. Ceferin spoke of the season before "could be lost"when it gets too late. Because the beginning of the 2020/21 season must also remain in focus.

What problems there are off-schedule

Organizationally, it could be difficult and arguable. The remaining games in the Champions League are played by clubs from five countries, and there are eleven in the Europa League. It is extremely unlikely that UEFA will find the same conditions in all of these countries with the restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic to play all games. The following options remain:

  • The ideal case: All games can be played as provided in the schedule.
  • Individual failures: If it is not possible to play in a country, for example in France, then the country‚Äôs clubs have to find a neutral location abroad. Inevitably, the question of justice in matters of home law would arise.
  • Small changes: If the quarter-finals cannot be implemented as usual, the remaining knockout rounds could be decided in just one match in a neutral place. It also saves time.
  • Complete renovation: If it is not possible to play in too many countries, a remaining tournament at one venue is conceivable.

Where could be played

The latter case has been the subject of speculation for a long time. According to media reports, from the semi-finals onwards, a "Final Four" like handball for the Champions League could be played. Istanbul, where the final was originally supposed to take place on May 27, 2020, has numerous hotels and four modern stadiums. To host the quarter-finals in Istanbul seems at least ambitious.

It also remains unclear whether a similar format is conceivable for the Europa League. The final is so far planned in Gdansk, Poland.

What it is about

UEFA has given priority to the leagues. Also, in order to determine who is allowed to play in the coming season. The question of who wins which cup also influences the field of participants for the coming season. The time pressure is great. But the financial one could soon get even bigger.

First and foremost, there is a lot of money at stake for UEFA and therefore for the clubs involved in the competitions. UEFA raised more than three billion euros from its club competitions in the 2018/19 season. Since the EM has been postponed to 2021, the Champions League and Europa League currently remain the main sources of income. UEFA will do a lot to preserve it. Ceferin said in the UK Guardian: "So many millions and millions. Tens of millions of dollars that we lose. It's hard to fall asleep at night then."

nch | As of: May 26th, 2020, 1:49 pm