Clubs told that a third UEFA competition set to be introduced

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It would mark a return to three European club competitions after the Cup Winners' Cup was abolished at the end of the 1998-99 season.

But instead of that they will now have to play their first home game of this season's Europa League group stage, against Eintracht Frankfurt on September 20, in an empty Stade Velodrome.

The chairman of the European Club Association, Andrea Agnelli, confirmed these plans.

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While this is undoubtedly attractive to the clubs, many of whom are among the ECA's 232 members, it is likely to cause alarm at European Leagues, the organisation that represents leagues in 25 countries, many of whom are already concerned about the effect UEFA prize money has on the competitive balance of their competitions.

Though scant detail was given about the competition, the Juventus chairman, Agnelli, said "This would bring the overall number of clubs in European competition to 96, as of the 2021/22 season".

The launch of a European Super League has always been mooted, but it is claimed the new competition will instead be aimed at teams from the continent's weaker nations.

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In July, UEFA's disciplinary tribunal gave the club a one-year ban from European competition, which was deferred for a probationary period of two years.

"Uefa is discussing various ideas within its club competitions committee before any decision on potential changes would be made", it added. The current model needs modernising.

Agnelli also repeated his call from a year ago for a drastic overhaul of the worldwide match calendar, which is drawn up by global soccer body Federation Internationale de Football Association and allocates dates for national team games.

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"A detailed assessment of the existing International Match Calendar is required prior to presenting a new model post-2024", he said.

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