UEFA has announced plans for a revamped Champions League format, set to be implemented from the 2024-25 season. The changes aim to increase the number of matches and revenue generated by Europe’s premier club competition.
Under the proposed new structure, the current group stage will be replaced with a single league consisting of 36 teams, up from the current 32. Each team will play 10 matches against different opponents, with five games at home and five away. The top eight teams in the league will automatically progress to the knockout stage, while the remaining 16 teams will compete in a two-legged playoff to secure their place.
One of the key changes is the introduction of a “Swiss model” for determining the fixtures. Teams will be placed into one league table, with no restrictions on who they can face. This means that there will be no fixed groups or seedings, allowing for more variety in the matchups. The top-ranked teams will have the advantage of playing more matches at home.
The new format also aims to address concerns about the growing dominance of the top clubs. As part of the changes, the number of guaranteed places for the top-ranked leagues will be reduced. Instead, the allocation will be based on historical performance in European competitions over a ten-year period. This will give more opportunities to teams from smaller leagues to participate in the tournament.
In addition to the format changes, UEFA has also announced an increase in the number of matches. From the 2024-25 season, each team will play a minimum of four extra matches in the group stage compared to the current format. This will provide more opportunities for clubs to generate revenue through ticket sales, broadcasting rights, and sponsorship deals.
The proposed changes have received mixed reactions from various stakeholders. While some clubs and leagues have welcomed the increased revenue potential, others have expressed concerns about the impact on domestic competitions and player workload. Critics argue that the new format could lead to fixture congestion and player fatigue.
UEFA hopes that the revamped Champions League will strengthen the competition’s appeal and maintain its status as one of the most prestigious club tournaments in the world. The changes are subject to approval by UEFA’s executive committee, which is expected to make a final decision in 2022.
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