UEFA are considering the idea of moving a select number of Champions League group games to the United States, according to reports.
A report recently published by The Athletic suggested that UEFA could move a group stage game or two to Los Angeles, New York or another US city, in a bid to grow the global interest in the Champions League. UEFA is currently holding meetings ahead of the European Club Association [ECA] gathering in Turkey this week.
The ECA represents the biggest clubs that compete in UEFA’s European competitions, including both the Champions League and Europa League. The meetings taking place are happening with the intention of growing the interest in the two tournaments, which could be increased by taking them outside of Europe.
It means that a selection of fixtures could be played in various other countries around the world, including the US. Many big-name European teams flock to the other side of the Atlantic for pre-season tours, presenting an opportunity for fans of those clubs in the US to catch a glimpse of their heroes.
It is claimed that Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi is one of the people supporting the plan with genuine interest. Not only does he chair the ECA, he is also on the UEFA executive committee.
Although the idea is gathering pace and plenty of attention, the prospect of it happening before 2024 is off the agenda. That is because the broadcast and commercial contracts are locked in place, meaning there will be at least two more seasons of UEFA’s European club competitions continuing in the manner we are all so familiar with.
But while the prospect of seeing games staged in the US might be on the back-burner for now, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin admitted last year that he would support an idea that would see the latter stages of the Champions League campaign wrapped up in just four days, just like the FIFA World Cup is. Ceferin confirmed he was “a fan” of having two single-legged semi-finals and then the final in a Champions League “final four” week.