While the Champions League draw on Friday will get the short-term attention of the media and fans, Uefa made a change to the Champions League qualification on Friday that could have a profound impact on Serie A and Italian football.
Uefa has announced that the top four European leagues, currently La Liga, the Bundesliga, Premier League and Serie A, will see four teams enter the group stage without having to go through a qualification round, beginning in the 2018-19 season.
UEFA was under pressure to do something to appease the big clubs after talk had intensified earlier this year about a breakaway European Super League.
UEFA general secretary ad interim Theodore Theodoridis said:
“The evolution of UEFA’s club competitions is the result of a wide-ranging consultative process involving all stakeholders and taking into account a wide range of expertise and perspectives.
“The amendments made will continue to ensure qualification based on sporting merit, and the right of all associations and their clubs to compete in Europe’s elite club competitions.
“We are happy that European football remains united behind the concepts of solidarity, fair competition, fair distribution and good governance.”
A number of other changes have been implemented. The winner of the Europa League will now get immediate access to the Champions League groups stage, rather than having to dispute a play-off, and financial distribution will be reformatted and increased.
This was a huge win for Serie A and Inter. Getting an additional Champions League place is fantastic, and not having to go through the playoff process is priceless considering how poorly Serie A sides have done with that in recent years.