What will the new format of the UEFA Champions League be like?

The maximum competition at the European level will change from 2024, with the aim of making it more competitive. Let's see all the announced implementations.

2017 UEFA Champions League Opening Ceremony at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff

After the announcement of the SuperLiga, UEFA did not want to sit idly by and announced important changes for the future. Photo: Wikimedia-Markos90

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Leer en español: ¿Cómo será el nuevo formato de la UEFA Champions League?

European soccer is experiencing moments of change. Mainly, in regards to its top competitions. The announcement of the creation of the European Super League, although it has been unsuccessful, jeopardizes an entire system that, until now, had had enormous prestige. In particular, the one that refers to the UEFA Champions League.

For this reason, UEFA did not want to sit idly by and announced important changes for the future. From 2024, the format in which this competition is played will be changed, in order to make it much more competitive, as reported in an official statement. Let's see all the details.

The new UEFA Champions League

The intention of this change of format is to “modernize the competition”. According to As, one of the main implementations of this system will be that, instead of the classic 32 teams, there will be 36. Unlike what has happened so far, the third parties eliminated from the Champions League of each group will no longer be re-engaged in the Europa League.

That is to say, previously, two of the four teams in each group qualified for the next instance of the UEFA Champions League. The third parties, on the other hand, agreed to a ticket to continue their European career in the UEFA Europa League, which, although it has a lower prestige than the previous cup, continued to be an interesting competitive scenario.

Therefore, for the 2024-2025 season, the idea is to add new places. The criteria to enter the Champions League remain in the main leagues. The four new places would come from the fifth major league in Europe (France, which would have an extra quota), the league champion of the country with the best UEFA coefficient that does not have direct access (Turkey), and two more, according to the classification criteria of this organism.

???? ÚLTIMA HORA | @UEFA anuncia su nueva @ChampionsLeague de 2024

???? 36 equipos en lugar de 32

???? Cada equipo jugará 10 partidos contra rivales diferentes

???? Los 8 primeros, a 1/8 de final

???? Del 9º al 24º, enfrentamiento a ida y vuelta por una plaza en 1/8 de final pic.twitter.com/fmZuhIWZja

— El Partidazo de COPE (@partidazocope) April 19, 2021

The format will also undergo major changes. The 36 teams will be divided into four blocks (A, B, C, and D) of nine teams. Obviously, to match the groups, the criterion of the UEFA coefficient will be used, which, for example, currently has Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Barcelona in its first three positions.

Also read: European Super League: The football business model in crisis

The UEFA Champions League will become a kind of League, although with one caveat: they will not play everyone against everyone. Each club will have a total of 10 matches, which will be divided into 5 homes and 5 away. For example, those from block A will have two games against rivals from the same space, three against those from block B, three against those from block C, and two against those from block D, for a total of 10 games.

As for the locality, this would occur alternately: a game at home and another away, but not against the same teams, since there will not be repeated matches in that instance. Recall that, in the current edition, a total of 96 games are played in the group stage, so that number would now amount to 180.

Nuevo formato de #UEFA #ChampionsLeague:
????????De 32 a 36 equipos
????????No más grupos: liga
????????10 partidos por equipo (5 local, 5 visitante)
????????Puesto 1-8 a 8vos
????????Puesto 9-24 duelos ida y vuelta por otros 8 lugares
????????8vos, 4tos, semi, final
????????Estreno: temporada 2024/2025 pic.twitter.com/D4AFeHQLVH

— VarskySports (@VarskySports) April 19, 2021

On the other hand, when this first phase ends, these 36 teams will be ordered according to the points they have achieved as if it were a single league. If they tie on points, the goal difference will count. The top 8 of the table will qualify directly to the round of 16, while the 16 teams will immediately play two-legged qualifiers, where 8 new winners will be decided.

From there, the Champions League will be the same as we know it: instances of the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals, and a one-game final, in a neutral stadium. Anyway, UEFA they warn that there is the possibility that the semifinals will be a one-off match, which would make a “final four” in a single venue, as happened in 2020 in Lisbon.

What will change is that a champion will no longer play 13 games, but that number will rise to 17. In case of having play-offs, there will be 19 commitments for this tournament, which is why it will be essential to have an extensive squad, much more if the possible incorporation of the European Super League is taken into account.

La UEFA anuncia la ampliación de la Champions a 36 equipos desde 2024. Habrá Champions también los jueves y quieren instaurar definitivamente una Final Four. #Champions

— A. Gabilondo (@AS_AGabilondo) April 19, 2021

In addition, as Marca reveals, the inclusion of more games means a much tighter schedule for the teams. For this reason, this cup will start at the end of August or the beginning of September, but they will also extend the days of matches during the week: now there will be matches on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and also some Thursdays.

As we can see, we are living moments of very important changes for the maximum competitions at European level. If the number of games increases, it is likely that many of these teams will have to have a much more competitive roster to cope with these new modifications.