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Manchester United training - Eric Cantona shoots on goal as Sir Alex Ferguson observes
Manchester United were among the early beneficiaries as Uefa adapted the group stage

It is hard to remember where the league came from.

Uefa used to not know what day games would be played until 48 hours before the game. Some of the players were part time.

Between September and November, there were two knockout rounds. The neutral venue decider for the first-round tie was played at Barcelona's Nou Camp, despite the German side breaking Uefa's rule of only fielding three foreigners.

There were eight teams that advanced to play in two groups of four. They met in the final. The AC Milan team would have their 1993 French league title stripped over match- fixing.

Rangers went perfect, but finished just a point behind the other team. They were second to Milan.

Hakan Mild recalls a time when he and a friend were at work and playing before a home game.

We were semi- professional. We did a lot of training. We did not have the same finances.

There was a film made for television. It was not possible to beat Porto, who had a good team, because we were working so hard.

The match was decided by a single point.

Each country had a single club. Scotland and Sweden were semi-finals. It sounds like a different era than the one we see today. It was a big change from what had happened before.

The European Cup has been going for over 50 years but the bigger clubs don't like it. There was a new and more commercially rewarding competition in the 1980's. One of the ring leaders was Berlusconi.

Because the best supported clubs drive revenues by attracting the most viewers on TV, they should get more money.

Uefa had to balance giving the clubs what they wanted while trying to maintain an inclusive competition.

Uefa's general secretary from 1989 to 2003 said that the clubs were always coming up with proposals that could have more matches.

The European Cup had only one team from each country and only five teams from the big TV markets. The same thing happened in the cup.

There were more than one team in the Uefa cup. The bigger markets meeting gave more chances for clubs to play. The European Cup had less potential than that.

It wasn't possible. If Uefa didn't act, we would probably lose control of the competition.

The new competition, with its theme tune, new broadcast package, and expanded format, was a huge success.

"We wanted it to be attractive for the supporters, for TV, and for the clubs themselves," says Aigner.

Two experts left ISL to join us, and we were able to have them join us. They had great ideas about how to market a new product. The Super Bowl was organised in the American way.

We were able to impress in terms of finances and presentation of the competition, as well as the behavior of the teams on the pitch.

The players realized what they were doing. They were aware that they had to give an example on this platform. I think we have a better product on the field than before, but I don't know if that is still the case.

The clubs and the national leagues were surprised by how that was being done.

Aigner thought that Uefa had done a great job of appeasing the big clubs while maintaining sporting integrity. Defending champion Barcelona was knocked out of the group stage in 1992.

Things would rapidly change.

Marseille celebrate Champions League win of 1993
Marseille's Champions League win of 1993 remains the only French success in the competition

The English clubs didn't make the group stage in the first two years of the competition. Spanish and German sides were not present in the first campaign.

To maximize income, broadcasters from the richest European countries needed to be encouraged to make higher offers. Changes took place for 1994-95.

The eight countries that won the title went straight into a group phase and made four groups of four.

As the qualification process was stripped back, 22 national league winners, including those of Bulgaria and Norway, were left out.

The employment rules for football players were changed in 1995. The rule that clubs could only field a maximum of three foreign players had to be scrapped.

The '3+2' ruling made Stuart's career. He was signed by the club in 1991.

People talk about sliding doors.

I was on the bench for England in 1984. I would have been able to speak English in the game if I had been on the touchline.

The referee blew his whistle, and I didn't get on. I became Scottish because of that. I wouldn't have made my way to Rangers if I'd gotten on.

The Bosman ruling had a big impact on how European football has changed. He looks back on Uefa's mistakes.

He said they didn't know about the decision taken by the European Court. Those clubs who were able to compete with their own talents on the highest level couldn't do it anymore as they started to lose their talents at a very young age.

We didn't get the financial distribution model right because the money coming to the clubs from Europe only went to those who played European football.

The mistake we made was to give four places to the big clubs. The other countries with their champion had a chance if we had two and two. The door is too small for them to compete.

For the first time, runners-up from the eight highest-ranked leagues were allowed to play in the European Championship. Eight people made it to the group stage after entering at the final qualification round. England, Germany, Italy, Spain and France made it to the quarter-finals.

It was the beginning of something. Six of the last eight have been made up by teams from the five leagues. They have contributed the entire line-up four times.

Four teams from the biggest three leagues were allowed in in 1999-2000. Three clubs from England, Italy and Spain made it into the group phase. Four teams from the biggest four leagues went straight into the group phase and the number of qualification spots went down.

Half of the group stage is dominated by clubs from England, Spain, Italy and Germany. More games have been made with the richest clubs and most high-profile players.

The biggest move is going to happen.

Karim Benzema lifts the Champions League trophy in 2022
Real Madrid - along with Barcelona and Juventus - have not withdrawn from plans for a European Super League

The group stage will be eliminated in 2024 as the league expands to 36 teams and each team plays 10 games against 10 different clubs.

Two of the additional four spots will be given to teams that performed well in Uefa. They would have been invited in.

It is a controversial move, watered down from initial proposals that would have rewarded teams based on their previous five years of European performances.

A lot of people don't like what's left.

It isn't the same." Mild had four spells with Gothenburg between 1989 and 2005.

Thirty years ago, it was not an industry. It was more real when I was younger. It wasn't a hoax. There was more passion in it.

The upcoming expansion was negotiated by the chairman of the European clubs' association. Agnelli quit the ECA along with representatives from all 12 clubs involved in the shambolic European Super League.

The idea has not left the drawing board. The European Court of Justice is expected to rule in the spring on whether Uefa should have a monopoly on organizing international tournaments. If it comes down in favor of the three clubs that have already decided to pull out of the league, it's not likely to be around for 40 years.

Aigner said it was unfortunate.

Competition rules make it difficult for the sport's authorities to exert control.

I sent someone to Australia to study Murdoch's actions in rugby league. The league almost destroyed the game.

Money speaks louder than ever. The World Cup is held in the Middle East. There is a golf competition. Some people are in favor of that, while others are against it.

I am aware of the principle of open markets. The majority of the clubs in the premier league are from other countries. Is that what we would like? The government might want that.

The owners of the clubs in the UK are interested in European football. Are they interested in European football? I don't think it's true.

I fear that I am an old person who still has the old values that I would like to keep.

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