UEFA Champions League: All you need to know about new format for 2024-25 season

2023–24 Champions League: All you need to know about the draws, key dates, time and final venue

Europe’s football governing body, UEFA, has confirmed big changes to the format of the club competitions that will come into effect next season.

The 2024/25 Champions League will, as initially planned, adopt the league format, with the group stage format, where 32 teams are divided into eight groups of four, being replaced by an overall 36-team table.

According to UEFA, similar format changes will be made to the Europa League, with eight matches in the league stage as well, and the Conference League with six matches.

Each competition will be self-contained from the group stage onwards, meaning teams eliminated from the Champions League can no longer drop into the Europa League, as it used to be.

How will the teams know their opponents?

This development signifies that each team will play eight matches against eight different opponents – four at home and four away.

To ascertain the eight varied opponents, the teams will first be categorised into four seeding pots based on their rankings.

Subsequently, each team will be randomly selected to face two opponents from each of these pots. This entails playing one match against a team from each pot at their home venue and another away.

Where will the additional four teams come from?

Seeing as the tournament is moving away from the famous 32-team group stage, four extra teams will be needed to complete the competing pack.

Although the qualification process for the Champions League remains untouched as it is determined by the team’s final position at the end of the domestic season for the preceding year, as well as each nation’s position in the UEFA club coefficient ranking, the four additional teams will be decided based on the following slots:

SLOT ONE: The club ranked third in the championship of the association in fifth position in the access list, which is determined by the UEFA association club coefficient ranking.

SLOT TWO: This place will be awarded to a domestic champion by extending from four to five the number of clubs qualifying via the Champions path of the competition’s qualifying process, consisting of four qualifying rounds.

SLOT THREE AND FOUR: These places will go to the two associations with the best collective performance by their clubs in the previous season, and the next best-ranked clubs behind the ones that have already qualified from these associations will receive a spot in the league phase.

How will the 16 teams for the knockout stage be determined?

After the first phase, the top eight sides qualify for the knockout stage, with the teams finishing ninth to 24th going into two-legged play-offs in order to reach the last 16.

The teams that finished the initial phase 9th to 16th will be seeded in the knockout phase play-off draw. This means they will face a team placed 17th to 24th over the usual two legs.

The eight teams that qualify from this knockout phase play-off draw will each face one of the top-eight finishers.

Teams that finish 25th or lower in the league phase will be totally eliminated from European football for that season, with no access to the UEFA Europa League.

Once the participating teams for the round of 16 have been decided, the competition will continue in its usual format that governs the knockout rounds until the final, which will be played in a neutral venue handpicked by UEFA.

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