The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) on Monday announced the new Champions League format which will come in force from the 2024 season.
Champions League will now be competed between 36 teams, adding four more teams to the competition. All 36 teams are brought together into one pool instead of the current system of four-team groups.
The #UEFAExCo has approved a new format for club competitions as of the 2024/25 season.[?] The reforms come after an extensive consultation across the football family. The changes made are designed to secure the positive future of European football at every level.#UCL #UEL
— UEFA (@UEFA) April 19, 2021
“Taking the total number of teams from 32 to 36 in the UEFA Champions League, the biggest change will see a transformation from the traditional group stage to a single league stage including all participating teams. Every club will now be guaranteed a minimum of 10 league stage games against 10 different opponents (five home games, five away) rather than the previous six matches against three teams, played on a home and away basis,” UEFA said in a statement.
“The top eight sides in the league will qualify automatically for the knockout stage, while the teams finishing in ninth to 24th place will compete in a two-legged play-off to secure their path to the last 16 of the competition,” it added.
Similar format changes will also be applied to the UEFA Europa League (8 matches in the league stage) and UEFA Europa Conference League (6 matches in the league stage). Subject to further discussions and agreements, these two competitions may also be expanded to a total of 36 teams each in the league stage.
Qualification for the UEFA Champions League will continue to be open and earned through a team’s performance in domestic competitions.
Commenting on the new format, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, said: “This new format supports the status and future of the domestic game throughout Europe as well. It retains the principle that domestic performance should be the key to qualification and reconfirms the principles of solidarity right through the game and of open competition.
“This evolved format will still keep alive the dream of any team in Europe to participate in the UEFA Champions League thanks to results obtained on the pitch and it will enable long-term viability, prosperity, and growth for everyone in European football, not just a tiny, self-selected cartel,” he added.
Earlier, UEFA had said that any player and club who participates in the proposed Super League will be banned from UEFA and FIFA football tournaments.
“UEFA, the English Football Association and the Premier League, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga, and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Lega Serie A have learned that a few English, Spanish and Italian clubs may be planning to announce their creation of a closed, so-called Super League,” UEFA said in a statement on Sunday.
“We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way. As previously announced by FIFA and the six confederations, the clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams,” it added.
(With ANI inputs)