UEFA PROPOSES NEW CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TOURNAMENT STRUCTURE
Plans to revamp the UEFA Champions League were agreed on Monday, 19 April 2021 and it is set to take off from the start of 2024/25 season. The decision was unanimously backed by both the European Club Association (ECA) Board and the UEFA Club Competitions Committee. This came just a day after the announcement of the controversial European Super League.
The UEFA President, Aleksander Čeferin stated that the new format will still keep alive the dream of any team in Europe to participate in the UEFA Champions League. He also noted that it will enable long-term viability, prosperity, and growth for everyone in European football, not just a tiny, self-selected cartel.
The new format involves increasing the number of participating teams from 32 to 36 with the group stage scrapped and replaced with a single league stage where all clubs play against 10 opponents of varying strengths, half of them at home and half of them away.
The top eight sides would then automatically qualify for the knockout stage, with the teams finishing in ninth to 24th place facing off in a two-legged play-off fixture to progress to the last 16 of the competition.
The criticism around this format is that it would strip away the basis of qualification being around league position as a team could qualify for the Champions League despite finishing lower in the table.
The format will have two of the additional four slots allocated on the basis of past performance, to the clubs with the highest UEFA co-efficient that did not qualify for the Champions League automatically but did qualify for another European competition.
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