UEFA announces new Eurotournament format

The UEFA Executive Committee has approved this Tuesday in Vienna the final format and the list of access to European club competitions from the 2024-25 season after its decision on April 19, 2021 to introduce the so-called “Swiss system “. The 2024-25 Champions League will start with an 8-day mini league, in which 36 teams will participate (instead of the current 32, divided into 8 groups playing a 6-day league). A controversial reform before it was born.

The main changes refer to the reduction from 10 to 8 games in the Champions League and the modification of the criteria for the allocation of two of the four additional places, since access based on the coefficient of the clubs is eliminated. With this it intends to promote open competitions and protect national leagues.

The eight matches of the Champions League group will be played in the ten European weeks provided for by the decision made in April 2021. The Champions League, the Europa League and the Conference League will enjoy one week of exclusivity in the calendar.

The four additional places created by the increase from 32 to 36 teams in the Champions League league stage will be allocated as follows:

• A place will be awarded to the club ranked third in the championship from the association in fifth position in the UEFA ranking of national associations.

• A place will be awarded to a national champion, increasing from four to five the number of clubs that qualify through the so-called Champions Route.

• The last two places will go to the federations with the best collective performance of their clubs in the previous season (total number of points obtained divided by the number of participating clubs). Those two associations will get a place for the highest-ranked club in the domestic league behind the Champions League positions. For example, at the end of the current season the two associations adding a club to the Champions League, based on the collective performance of their clubs, would be England and the Netherlands.

• The UEFA Executive Committee confirmed once again that all matches prior to the final will continue to be played on weekdays, recognizing the importance of the national match calendar across Europe.

With the total number of teams going from 32 to 36 in the Champions League, the biggest change will be the transformation of the traditional group stage into a single league stage that includes all participating teams. Each club will be guaranteed a minimum of 8 league phase games against 8 different opponents (four home and four away) instead of the previous six games against three teams, played home and away.

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The top eight teams in the league will automatically qualify for the knockout stage, while the teams ranked ninth to twenty-fourth will play a two-legged tie to secure passage to the round of 16 of the competition.

Similar format changes will also apply to the Europa League (8 games in the league phase) and the Conference League (6 games in the league phase) and both will also include 36 teams in the league phase.