There is a reason why European football is one of the most successful and popular sports in the world. He never stops. Since the start of the inaugural competition, known as the European Champion Clubs’ Cup, in 1955, UEFA has continued to evolve and adapt the Champions League to keep pace with larger changes in the world. Game.
To ensure that the new 2024/25 format will deliver the best for clubs, players and supporters, UEFA has based its design on extensive consultations with key stakeholders in the European football community. The reforms received unanimous support on April 19 from both the Board of Directors of the European Club Association (ECA) and the UEFA Club Competitions Committee (made up of a majority of club representatives) .
“This evolved format will always keep alive the dream of any team in Europe to participate in the UEFA Champions League thanks to the results achieved on the pitch and it will enable long-term viability, prosperity and growth for all. world in European football, not just a small self-selected cartel, “said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin.
How will the 2024/25 competition evolve?
The crucial change in the reforms announced by the UEFA Executive Committee after its meeting on 19 April 2021 is the departure from the opening group stage of the current 32-team format. The current Champions League season begins with participants split into eight groups of four. From the 2024/25 season, there will be only one league made up of the 36 competing clubs. This will give four other teams the opportunity to compete against the best clubs in Europe.
In the new format, teams will play four more games than currently. They will no longer play three opponents twice – at home and away – but instead face 10 different teams, half at home and half away. This gives clubs the opportunity to compete against a wider range of opponents – and also increases the possibility that fans will see the best teams compete against each other more often earlier in the competition. The new format should mean there is more to play until the league’s last night of action.
How will the four additional places be allocated?
Qualification for the Champions League will continue to be open and will depend on a club’s final position in the domestic league competition from the previous season. The four additional slots available in 2024/25 will be allocated according to three different criteria:
- First place: One of the additional places will go to the club ranked third in the association’s championship in fifth position in the UEFA national association rankings.
- Second location: another will be allocated to a national champion by increasing the number of clubs qualified via the “Champions Path” from four to five.
- Pitches three and four: allocated to the two clubs with the highest club coefficients that have not automatically qualified for the League stage of the Champions League, but which have qualified either for the qualifying stage of the Champions League. champions, either for the Europa League / the Europa Conference League (which is due to start in the 2021/22 season).
How will the last 16 take shape?
The results of each match will decide the overall standings of the new league, with three points for a win and one for a draw still in effect.
While the top eight teams will automatically advance to the round of 16, the teams placed between ninth and 24th will participate in a play-off round. Those who finished between ninth and 16th will be seeded in the play-off draw, meaning they will face a team ranked 17th through 24th – with a home advantage in the second leg. Teams finishing 25th or less will be eliminated, without access to the UEFA Europa League.
The eight clubs that win in the play-offs will then advance to the round of 16 where they will each face one of the first eight.
Do the changes have an impact on the knockout stages?
From the round of 16, the competition will continue to follow its current format of knockout rounds leading to the final staged at a neutral venue chosen by UEFA.
What does the new Champions League format mean for fans?
- More opportunities to see the best European teams compete against each other earlier in the competition.
- Every game counts. The new league format will ensure that any result has the potential to drastically change a team’s position, until the very last matchday. Winning or losing could be the difference between a team automatically qualifying for the round of 16, entering play-offs or being eliminated from the competition.
Will other UEFA club competitions adopt the same format?
Yes. In addition to the Champions League, the Europa League and the all-new Europa Conference League – set to kick off for the 2021/22 season – will also evolve to replace their group stage with a single league. The new format can be adapted as needed to each competition, both in terms of the number of teams and the number of matches.
What are the next steps to prepare the ground for the introduction of the new format in 2024?
Further decisions regarding issues such as access list rebalancing, match dates, ranking system, finals format, coefficients and financial breakdown will be made by the end of 2021. Potential adjustments to the format approved on April 19 could still be made if necessary.
How will the new format benefit the European game at large?
The changes are aimed at securing the positive future of European football at all levels and at meeting the evolving needs of all its stakeholders. Confirming unequivocally the common commitment to the principle of open competition and sporting merit across the continent, the common goal has also been to support the national leagues.
UEFA also reaffirmed its strong financial commitment to all of European football and will take steps to ensure that greater financial solidarity is offered to a wider range of clubs that do not participate in UEFA club competitions. . This will strengthen the solid foundation on which the game in Europe is built.
Our Champions League and Europa League timelines show in more detail how each competition has evolved, from the origins of the European Champion Clubs ‘Cup, which started in 1955, to the UEFA Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup in their existing formats.