Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

European soccer clubs will meet with UEFA on Tuesday to discuss radical changes to the Champions League that would favor the continent's richest teams and make it harder for smaller teams to qualify, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The Champions League is the most prestigious tournament in club soccer, drawing a massive global audience and paying out tens of millions of dollars to participating teams. Any changes to its format would be felt throughout the soccer world.

Proposed changes:

  • A new system that would see just four teams relegated each year and help ensure that the biggest clubs are always involved. (Under the current format, teams qualify based on where they finish in their domestic league standings, which means even super-clubs can miss the cut if they have a down year.)
  • Matches being moved from their midweek slots to the weekend.
  • More guaranteed matches. (Currently, a team that goes out in the group stage plays only six times.)

The big picture: For decades, there have been rumors that Europe's top clubs might break away from the current structure of club soccer and form their own "Super League."

  • That conversation heated up last fall when leaked emails showed that seven of them — Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, AC Milan, Manchester United and Arsenal — had seriously explored the idea as recently as 2016.

The bottom line: While these proposed Champions League changes wouldn't create a separate "Super League," they would essentially turn the Champions League into one.

Go deeper

20 Republican former U.S. attorneys endorse Biden, call Trump "a threat to the rule of law"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Twenty Republican former U.S. Attorneys on Tuesday endorsed Joe Biden while saying that "President Trump's leadership is a threat to rule of law" in the U.S., the Washington Post reports.

What they're saying: In the letter, the former prosecutors criticize Trump's use of the Department of Justice, saying the president expects the DOJ to "to serve his personal and political interests."

  • "He has politicized the Justice Department, dictating its priorities along political lines and breaking down the barrier that prior administrations had maintained between political and prosecutorial decision-making," the letter says.
Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  2. Health: The coronavirus is starting to crush some hospitals — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter coronavirus threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes cable and satellite TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Unrest in Italy as restrictions grow across Europe.

Ted Cruz defends GOP's expected return to prioritizing national debt

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told "Axios on HBO" on Monday that he wishes reining in the national debt was a higher priority for President Trump.

Why it matters: Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to reduce the national debt and eliminate it entirely within eight years, though he also deemed himself "the king of debt" and said there were some priorities that required spending. In the fiscal year that ended in September, the deficit reached a record $3.1 trillion.

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