UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin confirmed there is a a possibility that UEFA Champions League games could be hosted in the United States.
During an appearance on the ‘Men In Blazers Network’, Čeferin hinted at the possibility of not just regular Champions League fixtures to be played in the US, but even the Champions League Final itself.
The UEFA President had initially denied discussions of US-based Champions League games last September, when he did reveal he would like to see a salary cap for European leagues, similar to that of major US sports leagues.
However, during his recent podcast appearance, Čeferin admitted that internal talks had taken place over games in the US but admits that it may take several years to come to fruition.
He said: “Football is extremely popular in the United States these days. Americans are prepared to pay for the best and nothing for the rest. They will follow football as basketball lovers in Europe follow the NBA.
When quizzed on US-based Champions League fixtures, he stated: “It’s possible, we started to discuss that but then one year it was the World Cup, 2024 is the EUROs, this year is Istanbul, 24 (2024) is London, and 25 (2025) is Munich, and after that let’s see. It’s possible, it’s possible.”
Whilst Champions League games being competed in the US may draw the ire of fans in Europe, this would not be the first instance of a European competition being held in a country outside its remit.
The Italian Football Federation has moved the Italiana Supercoppa final hosted stadium across multiple countries, from Qatar, to China and Saudi Arabia. The Spanish equivalent of the Supercoppa, the Supercopa de Espańa, has also moved seemingly permanently to Saudi Arabia in its new four-team format.
Čeferin believes he and UEFA can capitalise on the US’ growing football fanbase. The President revealed that eight million US viewers tuned into the UEFA EURO 2020 Final, more than the NBA Finals according to Čeferin, albeit the NBA Finals are played across multiple games in a seven game series.
He continued: “What shocked me, in 30 matches of the EUROs, every match viewership was a Super Bowl viewership, so I think we’re doing well.
“The problem is the time difference, because if you play (Champions League games on) Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 12 noon in LA, it’s a problem”.
Čeferin is also now serving a new full term as UEFA President having previously won election this month to serve in his third term.