A revolution in the Champions League! UEFA has made a decision

It was already planned that from the 2024/25 season there will be 36 teams in the main stage of the LM, not 32 as before. Now details have been established and approved in Vienna.

There is no division into groups of the Champions League. Each team plays eight games (instead of six as before in the group stage) – four home and away. The rivals are chosen by lottery.

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The eight best teams in the so-called Competition phase qualify directly for the 1/8 LM finals, and the teams from places 9-24 play in the tie-offs (something like the 1/16 finals) – their winners go also through to the 1/8 finals, with the losers playing in the knockout stage of the League Europe.

“Now that the total number of teams has increased to 36 in the Champions League, the biggest change is the move from the traditional group stage to a single league stage involving all participating teams. Each club will now be guaranteed a minimum of 8 league stage matches against 8 different opponents, instead of the previous “six games against three teams, played home and away” – summarized on the UEFA website.

The Europa League and the Conference League will also have 36 teams on the main stage – the so-called league (without division into groups).

As the Champions League increased from 32 to 36 teams, UEFA’s Executive Committee also decided to allocate four additional seats.

It was agreed that one of them will be awarded to the club that finished third in the national championship, which has been placed fifth in the UEFA National Association Ranking (“UEFA National Association Ranking”). For example, if this rule were to apply now, France, fifth in the ranking, would benefit.

Two places are awarded to the federations with the best results of their clubs in the previous season (total points scored divided by the number of participating clubs). These two federations each win one place for the club that is behind the teams in the Champions League positions in their league.

At the end of this season, for example, England and the Netherlands are the two federations that would each gain an extra spot in the Champions League based on the combined performance of their clubs. So, for example, England would have as many as five teams in the new LM.

The last place in the Champions League – which is important for Poland, among other things – will be awarded to an additional national champion of the so-called Master Path. So far from this path, on which, among other things, competes the best team in the Polish Premier League, only four teams qualified for the elite games. From edition 2024/25 there will be five.

“UEFA made it clear today that we are fully committed to respecting the fundamental values ​​of sport and upholding the basic principle of open play, with qualifications based on sporting merits,” said UEFA President Alexander Ceferin.

As he added, Tuesday’s decisions put an end to a wide-ranging consultation process.

– During this time, we have listened to the ideas of fans, players, coaches, national associations, clubs and leagues, to name a few, in order to find the best solution for the development and success of European football. We are confident that the selected format strikes the right balance (…) and will generate solid revenues that can be distributed to clubs, leagues and amateur football across our continent, while increasing the attractiveness and popularity of our club competitions – he added ready.

As he emphasized, it was a unanimous decision of UEFA’s Executive Committee, and it was approved by European league associations and national federations, among others.

“The qualification will therefore be based solely on sports performance and the dream of participation will remain with all clubs,” Ceferin concludes.


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