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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

Biden to sign 15 executive actions on Day One

President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to sign 15 executive actions upon taking office Wednesday, immediately reversing key Trump administration policies.

Why it matters: The 15 actions — aimed at issues like climate change and immigration — mark more drastic immediate steps compared with the two day-one actions from Biden's four predecessors combined, according to incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Off the Rails

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Elijah Nouvelage, Alex Wong/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence. Trump believes the vice president can solve all his problems by simply refusing to certify the Electoral College results. It's a simple test of loyalty: Trump or the U.S. Constitution.

"The end is coming, Donald."

The male voice in the TV ad boomed through the White House residence during "Fox & Friends" commercial breaks. Over and over and over. "The end is coming, Donald. ... On Jan. 6, Mike Pence will put the nail in your political coffin."

Big Tech's post-riot reckoning

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The Capitol insurrection means the anti-tech talk in Washington is more likely to lead to action, since it's ever clearer that the attack was planned, at least in part, on social media.

Why it matters: The big platforms may have hoped they'd move to D.C.'s back burner, with the Hill focused on the Biden agenda and the pandemic out of control. But now, there'll be no escaping harsh scrutiny.

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