West Ham have been given major new Champions League hope after UEFA confirmed a compromise to controversial changes.
Last season West Ham agonisingly missed out on a top four place and Champions League qualification by a solitary win having recorded a Premier League record 65 points.
This season David Moyes’s side are on course for the top seven – and could even match last season’s sixth place finish.
That would be rewarded with back-to-back Europa League qualification for the first time in West Ham’s history.
West Ham fans will be well aware that UEFA have 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 Moyes himself (Daily Mail).
But now West Ham will get major new Champions League hope after UEFA confirmation of a compromise over its controversial changes.
The most controversial element of UEFA’s proposed changes – to award two places to clubs that failed to qualify based on historic performance – have been scrapped.
Instead places in the new 36-team competition from 2024 will now be handed to teams from two countries that perform best in European competitions.
West Ham get major new Champions League hope after UEFA confirmation of compromise to controversial changes
And that could mean the Premier League regularly having at least FIVE and even as many as SEVEN clubs in the competition.
Indeed West Ham would have been well in the mix for Champions League qualification this season were the changes in place now.
The Hammers would have comfortably made it into Europe’s elite competition last term too.
Even back in the 2015/16 Farewell Boleyn season where Dimitri Payet inspired the Hammers to with four points of a top four spot, West Ham would have qualified for the Champions League.
At worst it seems the Premier League will have at least five clubs in the Champions League most seasons as part of a UEFA compromise to changes confirmed last night.
“The Champions League could feature five English clubs on a regular basis from 2024 – and up to seven in exceptional circumstances – after a major overhaul of the competition was agreed on Tuesday,” Sky Sports reports.
“More than a year of intense debate about the best way forward for Europe’s premier club competition following the collapse of the Super League has concluded, with UEFA deciding to award two places in a new, expanded 36-team league system to clubs from the two countries who collectively performed best in Europe’s club competitions in the previous season.
“England would have gained an extra place in four of the last five seasons had this system been in use.
“In theory seven English teams could qualify in a single season in this new model – the top four in the Premier League, a fifth-placed team via the country coefficient and the winners of the Champions League and the Europa League, if these were all different clubs.”
In all, the new format means 64 extra matches, from the current 125 to 189.
The Europa League and Europa Conference League are also being extended from 2024. As a result there will be similar format changes 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.
Moyes’s fears that clubs like West Ham were being shut out of the competition will certainly be allayed. For now at least.