Sport

Champions League qualifying rules to change – and it’s bad news for Leicester fans

If there's one thing football clubs love these days, it's money. Oh, and glory. But mainly money.

And with books needing to be balanced, and huge sums riding on repeated, and assumed qualification for the world's biggest club competition, the Champions League, big clubs have become ever-more desperate to ensure that they are on that particular gravy train every year without fail.

And the likes of Leicester City are a serious irritation to Europe's fat cats, messing up their carefully-planned financial forecasts by having the audacity to win the Premier League, thus depriving one of the big clubs their annual spot in the competition.

This year has already seen a breakaway European Super League threatened by the big clubs, and then in March came rumours of a possible new format for the competition, halfway between a knockout competition and a league system, with the big clubs all-but-protected from early elimination.

Now, there's another report of a tinkering in the competition, with Gazzetta dello Sport writing that, under a proposed new qualification format, the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga would all be guaranteed four clubs in the competition. However, while the first three places would be allocated on merit, the fourth would be given out according to 'historical merit'.

In layman's terms, this implies that if Leicester City had another great season and managed to finish fourth, they could then be kept out of the Champions League by a club such as Manchester United - as the club have traditionally been a big-hitter in the competition, winning it three times (one old-style European Cup and two Champions League titles).

There is, of course, the possibility that both this system, and the new 'Super League' format could both be brought in together. However, neither development can happen before the 2018/19 due to the competition still having two more years of its TV deal to run.

But think about it guys. If this happened and Leicester missed out, then Claudio Ranieri would be sad:

And no one want Claudio to be sad do they? No, you want him to be happy:

UEFA, you know what to do.

(Images: Rex)