New UEFA Champions League Format


The New UEFA Champions League Format (2024/25)

Departure from Group Stages

The pivotal change in the reform is the departure from the current group stage system. Let’s dive into the details:

1. Number of Teams: Instead of the current 32 teams, the revamped Champions League will feature 36 teams.

2. Champions League Phase: There won’t be traditional group stages anymore. Instead, all 36 clubs will compete in a single league phase.

3. League Competition: In this new format, all 36 competing clubs will be ranked together. They will play a total of eight matches during this phase.

4. Opponents: Teams will no longer face three opponents twice (home and away). Instead, they’ll play against eight different teams, with half of the matches at home and half away.

5. Seeding Pots: Initially, teams will be ranked in four seeding pots. Each team will then be drawn to play two opponents from each pot.

Implications and Benefits

• Wider Range of Opponents: Clubs will now have the opportunity to test themselves against a broader spectrum of opponents.

• Top Teams Clash More Often: Fans can look forward to seeing the top teams go head-to-head more frequently and earlier in the competition.

• Sporting Merit: UEFA remains committed to the principle of qualification based on sporting merit.

How will teams reach the Champions League knockout phase and will the format for the knockout phase change?

The results of each match will decide the overall ranking in the new league, with three points for a win and one for a draw still applying.

The top eight sides in the league will qualify automatically for the round of 16, while the teams finishing in 9th to 24th place will compete in a two-legged knock-out phase play-off to secure their path to the last 16 of the competition. Teams that finish 25th or lower will be eliminated, with no access to the UEFA Europa League.

The new format, with all the teams ranked together in a single league, will mean that there is more to play for all the way through to the final night of the league phase.

In the knockout phase, the teams which finished between 9th and 16th will be seeded in the knockout phase play-off draw, meaning they will face a team placed 17th to 24th – with, in principle, the return leg at home. The eight clubs which prevail in the knockout phase play-offs will then progress to the round of 16, where they will each face one of the top-eight finishers, who will be seeded in the round of 16.

To strengthen the synergy between the league and knockout phases, and to provide more sporting incentive during the league phase, the pairings of the knockout phase will also be partly determined by the league phase rankings, with a draw which likewise determines and lays out the route for teams to reach the final.

From the round of 16 onwards, the competition will continue to follow its existing format of knockout rounds leading to the final staged at a neutral venue selected by UEFA.

All games before the final will continue to be played in midweek, recognising the importance of the domestic calendar of games across Europe, while the final will continue to be played on a Saturday.

UEFA President’s Statement

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin emphasized, “European football is more united than ever.” The unanimous decision by the UEFA Executive Committee, along with support from the European Club Association, European Leagues, and national associations, underscores this unity.

For more details, you can read through the Official UEFA here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link