UEFA on Tuesday approved the expansion of the Champions League from 32 to 36 teams from the 2024-25 season, with a new competition model without a group stage, moving to a single eight-match league.
After consulting with those involved in the process, the executive committee of the body responsible for European football has decided to change the number of matches to be played by each team from 10 to eight, four at home and four away. outside, and changed the criteria for awarding two of the four new vacancies, removing access to clubs with the highest coefficient.
Thus, the four new places will go to the country’s third place to fifth place in the UEFA rankings, another to a national champion, expanding the number of clubs selected via the so-called “Path of Champions” and the two others will go to the associations with the best collective performance of their clubs in the previous season (total number of points obtained divided by the number of participating clubs).
In the first phase of this format, the single league, each team will face eight different opponents – the so-called Swiss system. However, UEFA did not specify the criteria for pairing the teams or whether teams from the same country will play against each other.
The top eight ranked teams in the singles league will advance to the knockout stage of the competition, while those ranked between 9th and 24th will play a two-man play-off to qualify eight other teams.
From the 25th, the teams will be eliminated and none will advance to the Europa League.
The UEFA Executive Committee, meeting in Vienna, confirmed that “all matches before the final will still be played midweek, recognizing the importance of the domestic fixture schedule across Europe”.
The format changes will also apply to the Europa League, with eight games in the league stage, and the Europa League Conference, with six games in the league stage, comprising the same two 36 teams at this stage.