UEFA boss Aleksander Ceferin says Champions League football could be hosted in USA in 2026
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UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has bemused fans after revealing Champions League games could soon be played in the USA.
Soccer in the United States is undeniably on the rise. Recently, the NWSL confirmed their expansion into the Bay Area and of course, there’s the FIFA World Cup 2026 which will be co-hosted between the US, Canada and Mexico.
The US has also recently put in a joint bid with Mexico to host the 2027 Women’s World Cup. The USWNT goes into the tournament this summer - held in Australia and New Zealand - as defending champions.
However, despite the US already having some big footballing events on the calendar, European football fans are outraged to hear that the Champions League could officially be heading stateside and as early as 2026.
UEFA President Ceferin recently appeared on the Men in Blazers podcast to discuss growing the game from grassroots level, his rise in power, and how ‘extremely popular’ soccer is in the US market.
To open the line of questioning, the Men In Blazers host, Rog, asked Ceferin whether the whisperings regarding Champions League football in New York were true.
This relates to a 2018 rumour that circulated regarding the Champions League final being held in the Big Apple.
Rog asked Ceferin: “There were rumours a few years ago [that] you were toying of with the idea of staging a Champions League game, a Champions League final in New York.
“Could we see a European team play meaningful games in America sometime in the next two decades?”
Ceferin remained aloof and replied: “It’s possible. We started to discuss about that but then… One year it was World Cup. 2024 is EURO. This year [Champions League final] is Istanbul, ’24 is London and ’25 is Munich and then after that? Let’s see.”
When further prompted if it was a ‘foreseeable possibility’ that the Champions League final could be played in New York as soon as 2026, Ceferin simply replied: “It’s possible.”
Elsewhere on the podcast, Ceferin said that staging games in the US makes sense financially. He told Rog: “Football is extremely popular in the United States these days. Americans are willing to pay this amount [large gestures with hand] for the best and nothing for the less.
“It’s a very important, promising market for the future, The thing is that we are selling rights very well… Here [in the US] commercialisation is completely different than in Europe. They are much more talented for that than us.”
However, fans across social media can’t quite believe that European football is potentially going to be held outside of the continent. Many have already branded it ‘a stupid idea’ and believe it’s crazy to be ‘waking up at 3am to watch’ a football match.
One disgruntled Twitter user wrote in response to Ceferin’s comments: “Madness. If this happens fans of clubs all over Europe need to do a mass boycott of European football. It’s out game, it’s being ruined by greedy s***.”
Another said: “Not a very funny joke, Ceferin. I think you’ve forgotten what the ‘E’ in UEFA Stands for. Maybe it’s time for the EU to regulate UEFA’s work because you’ve all clearly gone mad.”
A third agreed further and wrote: “European football should not have games outside of Europe. Playing CL games in a country that calls football for soccer?”
However, some listeners thought that Champions League football in the US could be a good thing. One commenter said: “NFL plays regular games in [the UK], so why not. Would love for it to be in Vegas.”
Another user wrote that if they are considering hosting games in America, why not expand to the rest of the world? They said: “Biggest market is in Asia. Put them 1 million dollar tickets, stadium [is] guaranteed to be sold out.”
As of right now, there are no scheduled Champions League games taking place in the US… But watch this space.