UEFA Increased By Four Teams To 36

UEFA Increased By Four Teams To 36

The European Champions League will increase from four teams to 36, and the present group stage will be replaced by one single league from the 2024/25 season, UEFA said on Tuesday.

The revamp of European football's premier club competition will see each team play eight league games -- four home and four away -- instead of six in the group stage.

The top eight sides in the league will qualify automatically for the knockout stage, while the teams finishing in ninth to 24th place will compete in a two-legged play-off to secure their path to the last 16 of the competition.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said 

"We are convinced that the format chosen strikes the right balance and that it will improve the competitive balance and generate solid revenues that can be distributed to clubs, leagues and into grassroots football across our continent,"

Ceferin and UEFA will be hoping the reforms -- passed unanimously by their executive board -- will kill off once and for all any thought of the rebel Super League making a reappearance.

Last April, twelve of Europe's biggest clubs signed up for the proposed new competition. Still, it collapsed within days following a fierce backlash from their players and fans and governments and football's governing bodies.

Nine clubs distanced themselves from the project, but Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus remain.

UEFA had stepped back after consulting with various parties -- including supporters -- from having ten league matches and allocating two of the four new places to teams based on club coefficient.

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The four places will go to the club ranked third in the championship of the association in the fifth position in the UEFA national association ranking.

Another will be awarded to a domestic champion by extending from four to five the number of clubs qualifying via the so-called 'Champions Path.'

The final two places will go to the associations with the best collective performance by their clubs in the previous season (total number of points obtained divided by the number of participating clubs).

If it had been judged this season based on the collective performance of their clubs, those two associations would be England and the Netherlands.

Similar format changes will also be applied to the UEFA Europa League (8 matches in the league stage) and UEFA Europa Conference League (6 games in the league stage). Both will also include 36 teams in the league phase.

Ceferin reveled in the moment of succeeding in pushing through the reforms.

Ceferin said 

"I am really pleased that it was a unanimous decision of the UEFA Executive Committee, with the European Club Association, European Leagues and National Associations all agreeing with the proposal made,"

"Another proof that European football is more united than ever.

"Qualification will thus remain purely based on sporting performance and the dream to participate will remain for all clubs."

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