Statements by Aleksander Ceferin, President of UEFA, on the new model of the competition.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin believes the new Champions League format for the 2024/25 season “strikes the right balance and will improve the competitive balance”.
The organization approved this Tuesday the extension of the Champions League from 32 to 36 teams, with a new model of competition without a group stage, moving to a single league with eight matches. “We are confident that the chosen format strikes the right balance and will improve the competitive balance and generate solid revenue, which can be distributed to clubs, leagues and grassroots football across our continent, increasing the attractiveness and popularity of our club competitions”, explained the head of the entity which oversees European football.
In statements reproduced by UEFA’s official website, Ceferin said the decision taken shows that the body “is fully committed to respecting the fundamental values of sport and to defending the fundamental principle of open competition, with qualification based on sporting merit”.
Two weeks ago, the Association of European Football Leagues (European Leagues) reiterated its concerns about the Champions League access system and the overloading of the calendar from 2024, seeking to avoid a devaluation of the championships nationals.
The Association has defended that “sporting merit in national leagues should be the only access”, as well as the number of games to be played by each team in the competition to be fixed at eight and not 10.
“I am delighted that this is a unanimous decision by the UEFA Executive Committee, European Club Association, European Leagues and National Associations accepting the proposal made. Further proof that European football is more united than ever,” the Slovenian official said in the note.
The UEFA Executive Committee decided to change the number of matches to be played by each team from 10 to eight, four at home and four away, and changed the criteria for the allocation of two of the four new places, removing access to clubs with the higher coefficient.
Of the four new places, one will go to the third-placed country in fifth place in the UEFA “ranking”, another to a national champion, thus increasing the number of clubs qualifying via the so-called “Path of Champions”, and the other two 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).
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 match schedule across Europe”.
The format changes will also apply to the Europa League, with eight matches in the league stage, and the Europa League Conference, with six matches in the league stage, both featuring a total of 36 teams at this stage.