UEFA are planning a major new change to the Conference League and Europa League that could give West Ham an extra trophy incentive.
West Ham thoroughly enjoyed and embraced their Europa League journey last season.
Indeed it could and should have ended in glory but for the unfortunate circumstances surrounding West Ham’s heartbreaking semi-final exit to eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Hammers failed to leapfrog Man United on the final day of last season to seal another Europa spot.
UEFA’s third tier competition has been compared to the Intertoto Cup – the last trophy West Ham won – and has been the subject of much derision by English fans.
There is no hiding the fact the Conference League is designed moe for the minnows of European football.
And, particularly in the group stages, the standard of teams will not be what West Ham faced on the Europa League adventure they enjoyed so much last season.
But one look at the semi-finals and final of the competition suggests this is no Mickey Mouse tournament. The last four involved Marseille, Roma, Leicester and Feyenoord – with Roma beating Feyenoord in the inaugural Conference League final last month.
West Ham fans will be well aware that UEFA had been working in the background to make big changes to the format of its European competitions – most notably the Champions League.
The proposed changes were seen as hugely controversial and were widely criticised – including by West Ham boss David Moyes himself (Daily Mail).
The Europa League and Europa Conference League are also being extended from 2024. As a result there will be similar format changes to the Champions League with eight matches in the Europa League’s new league round robin stage instead of the six group games West Ham played this season.
And the Europa Conference League would have six matches in the league stage. You can read about the format changes in full on UEFA’s website.
Now UEFA is planning a major change to the Conference League and Europa League that could give West Ham a new trophy incentive.
UEFA recently reinstated the European Super Cup – a one off game where the winners of the Champions League play the winners of the Europa League.
The match is played before the start of the following season and this year sees West Ham’s foes Frankfurt take on Real Madrid.
It could and should have been West Ham preparing for that illustrious game.
Well now UEFA is also planning to start a new pre-season tournament from 2024 involving four Champions League clubs – including the previous season’s winners – which will take place in the United States (L’Équipe).
It is to raise the profile of the Champions League in the lucrative American market.
And the knock-on effect of the plan could mean another trophy incentive for the likes of West Ham.
Because the European Super Cup also looks set to change with UEFA considering making it between the winners of the Europa League and the Conference League instead.
Realistically West Ham look more likely to be involved in those two competitions for the foreseeable future.
And should the Hammers be in either of them when the changes come into force, they would have the incentive of a European Super Cup trophy too.
West Ham star Kurt Zouma won the European Super Cup with Chelsea just two weeks before he joined the Hammers last summer.
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