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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

Birx: Trump White House could have reduced COVID deaths by 30 to 40%

Deborah Birx, then-coronavirus response coordinator, speaks during a news conference in the White House last November. Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Deborah Birx, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator under former President Trump, told a House subcommittee this month that the Trump administration could have prevented tens of thousands of deaths during the early stages of the pandemic.

Driving the news: "I believe if we had fully implemented the mask mandates, the reduction in indoor dining ... and we had increased testing, that we probably could have decreased fatalities into the 30% less to 40% less range," Birx said in closed-door testimony to the Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, according to excerpts provided by the panel.

Study: Fear of debt keeps Latinos out of college

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Fear of never being able to pay off school loans is keeping many young Latinos in the U.S. from going to college or completing a degree, according to a report published in September.

State of play: Latinos tend to have more difficulty repaying school debt than white student borrowers, according to Federal Reserve data, at the same time that they need more loans in order to afford tuition.

3 hours ago - World

Scoop: Biden administration objects to Israeli settlements plan

Israeli PM Naftali Bennett (L) meets with Secretary of State Tony Blinken. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool/AFP via Getty

The Biden administration has privately protested to the Israeli government over its plan to approve the planning and construction of more than 3,000 new housing units in the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: The approvals for new homes in the settlements will be the first since President Biden assumed office, and come after Biden and his top aides personally pressed Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to restrain settlement activity and decrease the number of new housing units.

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