The UEFA Executive Committee, meeting this Monday in Montreux (Switzerland), has agreed go ahead with the new Champions League format that will come into effect in the 2024-25 campaign despite the announcement of the creation of a European Super League by twelve of the most powerful clubs on the continent.
Regardless of the claim of these entities to create an almost closed competition, within three years the main European tournament will have 36 teams instead of 32 today.
These will be distributed in four groups of nine teams that they will dispute other so many ‘liguillas’. The best eight will go directly to the eighth, those between 25 and 36 will be eliminated and those who finish between ninth and 24 will play a two-legged tie to complete the eighth.
Afterwards, the Champions League will continue with the current two-legged knockout format. The winner or runner-up will play a total of 17 matches instead of the current 13, or even 19 if they have to overcome the ‘play off’.
The four ‘big’ leagues (England, Spain, Germany and Italy) will maintain four classified ex officio. France, currently fifth, will have three insured and the winner of the Europa League from the previous season as well, as well as a winner of the domestic league, increasing the number of clubs that qualify through the league from four to five. called “path of champions”.
The last two places will be for the clubs with the highest coefficient of the last five years who have not qualified for the group stage of the Champions League, but have qualified for the qualification stage of the Champions League, Europa League or Conference League.
Also the format will be changed in a similar way in the Europa League (8 games in the league phase) and to the new Conference League (6 games in the league phase). “Subject to further discussions and agreements, these two competitions may also be expanded to a total of 36 teams each in the league phase,” says UEFA.
Qualification for the Champions League will remain open and will be won through the performance of a team in national competitions. UEFA notes that “all matches prior to the final will continue to be played during the week, recognizing the importance of the national match calendar throughout Europe.”
The highest continental body explains in a statement that these reforms “come after a wide consultation with the whole football family and received the unanimous endorsement of the ECA Council and the UEFA Club Competitions Committee (made up of a majority of club representatives) last Friday. ”
“The changes made are designed to ensuring the positive future of European football at all levels and meet the changing needs of all its stakeholders. Unequivocally confirming the joint commitment to the principle of open competition and sporting merit throughout the continent, the common purpose has also been to sustain the national leagues, “he says.
Its president, the Slovenian Aleksander Ceferin, specifies that “this new format supports the status and future of domestic tournaments throughout Europe as well. principle that domestic performance should be the key for classification and reconfirms the principles of solidarity through play and open competition “.
“This evolved format will continue keeping alive the dream of any team in Europe to participate in the Champions League thanks to the results obtained on the field of play and will allow the viability, prosperity and long-term growth of all members of European football, not just a small self-selected cartel, “he says.
“Football is a social and cultural treasure, enriched with values, traditions and emotions shared across our continent. As the governing body and administrator responsible for the European game, UEFA’s role is to safeguard this legacy while leading future development. positive football in Europe for national federations, leagues, clubs, players and fans at all levels, “he asserts.
Before the end of the year, UEFA clarifies, it will decide issues such as the rebalancing of the access list, the dates of the matches, the distribution system, the format of the finals, the coefficients and the financial distribution, and they could still be done possible adjustments to the format approved today if necessary.
In addition, the continental body “reaffirm your strong financial commitment with the whole of European football and will initiate the necessary steps to ensure greater financial solidarity to a wider spectrum of clubs that do not participate in UEFA club competitions. This will reinforce the solid foundation on which the game is built in Europe. ”