Then and now

A historical look at drastic structure changes in the UEFA Champions League

The UEFA Champions League is removing the “home and away goal” rules and adding 4 teams to the group stage!

Join our Managing Partner Craig Thompson and TwelfthMan editor Dan Poole in a discussion about drastic historical Champions League format changes, including the creation of the UCL from the European Cup and about what’s coming next.

As the UCL transitions from 32 to 36 teams, Craig reflects and puts in perspective the difficulty of these changes. Check out a snippet of the article below!

Access the article here:



“It was a lot of time on the phone,” says Craig Thompson, a wry smile on his face. “We kind of got our knuckles scraped in that first season.”

Thompson, a founding member of TEAM Marketing, is reflecting on the few months in the early 1990s when his agency was tasked with making the Champions League happen. “I mean, look, we started this thing in February of 1992 and the first matches were in November. Imagine that, with everything that had to be done: broadcaster workshops, club manuals, meetings with the sponsors, meetings with the media guys... It was crazy; we were working seven days a week. But we were the happiest we’d ever been because we knew we had something special.”

They also had something unheard of. “This was a revolution in European club competition – it had always been a home-and-away knockout,” says Thompson. “Then here comes a league introduced to this knockout system. Believe me, we had journalists calling from all the major newspapers. They were almost unanimous in their opposition. They were used to a system, they liked the system. We were raked over the coals in the press. It was terrible.