UEFA, the European Club Association (ECA) and the European Leagues (EL) are set to announce changes to the Champions League, which will take effect from 2024 and will see the number of teams competing in Europe’s elite club competition rise to 36 from 32. UEFA have listened to the arguments of all interested parties – including the most controversial tweak that would have awarded two places in the Champions League to teams that did not qualify through the domestic route based on their UEFA coefficient.
More Champions League champions
However, although UEFA will give the green light to the modifications, there will be a slight change to that proposal with the leagues that had the best performance in Europe the previous season, based on the coefficient system, rewarded with two additional places. There will also be one more place in the competition allocated via the ‘Champions Path,’ with the number of domestic champions qualifying directly increased from four to five. The final place will go to the the club ranked third in the championship of the association in fifth position in the UEFA national association ranking
That means that LaLiga and the Premier League, habitually the two best-performing leagues in Champions League competition, will be in with a good chance of having five representatives in the competition from the 2024-25 season onwards, although this season for example the Eredivisie would have claimed one of those spots by accruing more points.
Groups to be ditched for league system
Another big change in the group stage concerns the number of games to be played. UEFA initially announced that each team would play 10 games in the initial phase, with the old group format shelved for a new single league featuring all 36 teams. However, given the domestic scheduling issues this will cause, with Champions League clubs playing four additional group stage games, it is expected UEFA will announce an eight-games-per-club system for the group stage.
UEFA keen on Final Four format
Another change that UEFA is keen to implement but that remains up in the air is the idea of a Final Four format. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has said that he is a fan of the proposal and told AS in a recent interview that there is a system for implementing it on the table, although he added he couldn’t give any details as to how it may work but that it was gathering pace as an interesting option. European football’s executive committees are currently in session in Vienna, after which the finalized changes to the Champions League will become clearer.