UEFA is set to announce a third competition in 2021/22, according to the representative of Europe’s leading clubs.
Andrea Agnelli, chairman of the European Club Association, said that UEFA officials had “given the green light” to the new tournament.
Speaking at the ECA’s general assembly in Split, Croatia, Agnelli said: “Pending approval of the UEFA ExCo, the green light has been given to introduce a third competition, bringing the overall number of clubs to 96, as of the 2021/22 season.”
Currently, UEFA stages the 32-team Champions League and the 48-team Europa League with a total of 80 clubs playing across the two competitions. The new plan would see a further 16 compete in European football from 2021 onwards, although in what format remains to be seen.
Agnelli sits on UEFA’s executive committee (ExCo) which next meets on September 27 when further details look likely to be revealed.
Agnelli, who is also the chairman of Italian champions Juventus, has long been an advocate of changing the current Champions League structure in favour of Europe’s bigger clubs.
On Tuesday, he again spoke about the need for the current format to be “modernised”.
The existing model of eight groups of four will remain in place until 2024, but change could follow then.
At the end of last season, Agnelli said the ECA would like to see more European and fewer domestic games. He touted a new Champions League format of four groups of eight, one which would give each team a minimum of 14 European games.
Until 1999, UEFA did stage three club competitions but at that point the UEFA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup were merged to form what is now the Europa League.