UEFA To Bring In A New Champions League Format, According To Reports
March 30, 2021
UEFA is set to agree on a new Champions League format, featuring a 10-match first phase from 2024, according to various media reports.
The proposal, which has been under discussion for almost two years, is expected to be signed on Tuesday and then signed off by Uefa’s executive committee.
Under the new format, the current group stage will be scrapped, drastically impacting how the current competition stages take place. These additional fixtures in the opening phase are set to impact most of the major leagues, in particular that of English football, as it means an extra two weeks will have to be utilised to play these first-phase fixtures, likely in the weeks where the EFL Cup currently takes place.
In its place, the number of qualifiers for the competition, will be expanded from 32 to 36, with space for two ‘wild card’ entries.
The wild cards will be reserved for clubs with the highest Uefa co-efficient – points used to rank clubs based on past European success – who have not qualified for the competition through their league position.
If the format was being used now, based on the current table it would mean Liverpool would gain a Champions League spot despite being seventh in the Premier League.
The new format appears to remove the current round of 16, instead with 8 teams heading into the second stage automatically, while teams 9-24 head into a play-off.
However the final rule-changes come out, it is certain that this has the potential to shake up a large portion of European football.