© photo by Daniele Buffa / Image Sport
The UEFA Executive Committee approved today in Vienna the definitive format of the European cups and the access list for the European club competitions starting from the 2024/25 season which will see the introduction of the so-called “Swiss System” which will replace the group stage:
The key changes include the reduction from 10 to 8 matches in the championship phase of the UEFA Champions League and the modification of the criteria for the allocation of two of the four additional seats in the UEFA Champions League, eliminating access based on the club coefficient . “This confirms UEFA’s strong commitment to the principle of open competition and sporting merit, while recognizing the need to protect domestic leagues,” reports the official UEFA website.
The eight matches of the UEFA Champions League will be played in the ten European weeks foreseen by the decision taken in April 2021. The UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Europa Conference League will all enjoy a week of calendar exclusivity.
The four additional seats created by the increase from 32 to 36 clubs in the championship phase of the UEFA Champions League will be allocated as follows:
• A place will go to the third-placed club in the league in fifth place in the UEFA rankings.
• A seat will be awarded to a national champion by extending the number of teams that will qualify through the so-called “Champions Path” from four to five.
• The last two places will go to the associations with the best collective performance of their respective clubs in the previous season (total number of points obtained divided by the number of participating teams). These two associations will earn a spot for the best-ranked club in the domestic league behind the UEFA Champions League positions. For example, at the end of the current season the two associations that will add a club to the Champions League, based on the collective performance of their clubs, would be England and the Netherlands.
• The UEFA Executive Committee has confirmed once again that all matches before the final will be played in the middle of the week anyway, recognizing the importance of the national match calendar across Europe.
Taking the total number of teams from 32 to 36 in the UEFA Champions League, the biggest change will see the transformation from the traditional group stage to a single league stage that includes all participating teams. Each club will now be guaranteed a minimum of 8 league games against 8 different opponents (four home games, four away games) instead of the previous six games against three teams, played at home and away.
The top eight teams in the league will automatically qualify for the knockout stage, while the teams finishing ninth to 24th will compete in a two-legged play-off to secure their path to the competition’s round of 16.
Similar format changes will also apply to the UEFA Europa League (8 matches in the league stage) and the UEFA Europa Conference League (6 matches in the league stage) and both will also include 36 teams in the league stage.
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