The European Champions League will see an increase from four teams to 36 and the current group stage will be replaced by a single league from the 2024/25 season, UEFA announced on Tuesday.
The revamp of European football’s premier club competition will see each team play eight league matches – four home and four away – up from six in the group stage.
The top eight teams in the league will automatically qualify for the knockout stage, while teams finishing ninth through 24th will face off in a two-man play-off to secure their way to the last 16 of the competition.
“We are confident that the chosen format strikes the right balance and will improve the competitive balance and generate strong revenue which can be distributed to clubs, leagues and grassroots football across our continent,” the chairman said. of UEFA Aleksander Ceferin.
Ceferin and UEFA are hoping the reforms – passed unanimously by their board – will kill any idea of the rebellious Super League reemerging once and for all.
Twelve of Europe’s biggest clubs signed up for the proposed new competition last April, but it collapsed within days following a backlash from their own players and supporters, as well as governments and football governing bodies.
Nine clubs walked away from the project but Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus remain in agreement with the concept.
UEFA had backed down after consulting various parties – including supporters – to have 10 league matches and to allocate two of the four new places to teams based on club coefficient.
The four spots will go to the club ranked third in the association championship in fifth position in the UEFA National Associations Ranking.
Another will be awarded to a national champion by increasing the number of clubs qualifying through the so-called ‘champions path’ from four to five.
The last two places will go to the associations having achieved the best collective performance of their clubs during the previous season (total number of points obtained divided by the number of participating clubs).
These two associations had they been judged this season on the basis of their clubs’ collective performance would be England and the Netherlands.
Similar format changes will also be applied to the UEFA Europa League (8 matches in the league phase) and the UEFA Europa Conference League (6 matches in the league phase) and both will also include 36 teams in the league phase.
Ceferin reveled in the moment he succeeded in pushing through the reforms.
“I am really delighted that this is a unanimous decision by the UEFA Executive Committee, with the European Club Association, European Leagues and National Associations all agreeing with the proposal made,” said said Ceferin.
“Further proof that European football is more united than ever.
“Qualification will therefore remain purely based on sporting performance and the dream of participating will remain for all clubs.”
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