The UEFA Champions League is one of the most watched sporting events in the world. We tell you about the changes that this tournament will have for the coming years.
LatinAmerican Post | Camilo Parra
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Considered the most important soccer tournament at the club level and that every year brings great emotions to the fans of this sport. The Champions League will experience its last edition in the 2023-2024 season with the current format that has been played since 1999-2000, organized in the form of a league with eight groups of four teams.
This championship emerged in 1955 with sixteen invited participants, and more than 500 teams have participated in the history of this prestigious event. Then, from the next edition, the clubs that participated were for the final classification in the European leagues and thus expand the quota to twenty-two teams.
In May 2022, UEFA finally confirmed that the current format of the Champions League was going to change from the 2024-2025 season and in which it will become a tournament played by 36 teams. This change brought controversy among the fans, as it is something that people are not used to.
Why the format change?
According to the international press, the change is mainly due to the economic income of the contest, because the more matches played, the more money will be earned, the so-called greats will have higher income from broadcast rights and will have the possibility of having more relevant matches against important rivals.
With the current competition system, around 125 games are played. With the new format, this number would almost double, reaching more than 210 games, with each team playing more matches in the first phase.
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How will the new format work?
The main change that the Champions League will be that the eight groups made up of four teams will no longer exist, as is the case today, but the clubs will be located in a general table. Although in principle it was that each one will play ten games with random rivals, it was finally decided that there will be eight games, four at home and the rest as visitors.
The teams that finish this first round between the first and eighth position will advance to the round of 16, while those that remain in box nine to twenty-four will be playing a playoff with round-trip games to reach the mentioned phase. From there it will return to the traditional format and in which it is currently played.
Another change that this new edition will have will be that there will no longer be teams that reach the Europa League qualifiers, since those that are eliminated (that is, from twenty-five to thirty-six) will immediately be left out of European competitions for that season. This is something that does not currently happen, since the third parties in each group have the opportunity to continue competing internationally.
As the quota of participants will be increased, UEFA decided that these four teams will be decided as follows: the team that occupies the third place in the table of the fifth league of the UEFA ranking, a team that will come from a league located out of the top ten on the continent through a qualifier called 'Champions Path' and the two remaining spots will go to the two countries with the highest coefficient in the current season.
This tournament will not be the only one that will have changes, as UEFA also mentioned that the Europe and Conference League will have a format similar to the new Champions League. Likewise, FIFA will make changes to the Club World Cup starting in 2025, demonstrating that modern soccer is entering a transition stage with the aim that the sport is increasingly seen in the world and continues to produce a significant amount of money.