What is the new UEFA Champions League format for next year?

UEFA has recently announced a significant departure from the traditional format that the UEFA Champions League has adhered to for over two decades. Commencing from the 2024–25 season, the tournament will adopt a ‘Swiss’ style structure, bringing about notable modifications to its overall composition.

One of the noteworthy changes featured in the new UEFA Champions League format involves an increase in the number of participating teams, expanding beyond the traditional participants. This alteration aims to introduce more diversity and competitiveness to the prestigious tournament. Additionally, the qualification process for the knockout stages will undergo innovative adjustments, promising an enhanced level of excitement for both teams and fans.

What is the new UEFA Champions League format?

Starting next season, the European competition format will transition to a Swiss League system in the UCL, marking the end of the traditional group stage that has been prevalent over the years. The adoption of the Swiss model is considered the biggest change the Champions League has experienced in 20 years.

The upcoming 2024–25 UCL season will mark the final iteration of the current format, which features 32 teams competing in the group phase, divided into eight groups of four, and allowing the top two teams from each group to progress. Substantial changes are set to be implemented for the 2024–25 season.

The competition will now feature 36 teams instead of the usual 32 teams. Out of the additional four spots, two will be given to countries whose clubs have performed exceptionally well in their previous campaigns.

And each side will play a total of eight matches—four at home and four away—instead of the six in the previous group stage. The 36 teams will be ranked in a unified league table system, where they will earn three points for a win, one point for a draw, and no points for a loss.

UEFA Champions League

The top eight teams in this ranking will advance directly to the knockout stages. Teams placed from ninth to 24th will participate in two-legged play-offs to secure spots in the last 16. Please share your thoughts on whether you prefer the new format over the previous one in the comment section.

Why UEFA changing their Champions League format?

The new Champions League format aims to ensure a positive future for European football and cater to the needs of all stakeholders, according to UEFA’s reason for doing so. The changes aim to improve the competition and create a more engaging and competitive structure for participating teams and fans.

A detail view of the Champions League Trophy prior to the UEFA Champions League Final match between Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich at Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica on August 23, 2020 in Lisbon, Portugal.
Photo by Miguel A. Lopes/Pool via Getty Image

In the words of UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin: “This new format supports the status and future of the domestic game throughout Europe as well.

It retains the principle that domestic performance should be the key to qualification and reconfirms the principles of solidarity right through the game and of open competition.

‘The evolved format will still keep alive the dream of any team in Europe to participate in the UEFA Champions League thanks to results obtained on the pitch and it will enable long-term viability, prosperity and growth for everyone in European football.”


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