UEFA announces new formats for its club competitions

UEFA headquarters will be the scene of important debate this week. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)
UEFA headquarters will be the scene of important debate this week. (Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images) /
The official adidas UEFA Champions League ball (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
The official adidas UEFA Champions League ball (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images) /

UEFA finalized the format of their club competitions for 2024-25 following two plus years of discussions and restructuring involving a number of parties. We previewed the potential changes in a two-part series earlier this week. (Part I, and Part II)

Here is the principle information and a few items yet to be released.

Format from league phase to final

The first stage will see a single table of 36 teams, with each side meeting eight different teams (four at home and four away). This applies to both Champions League and Europa League, with the Europa Conference League having only six matches (three home and three away).

The top eight teams will go directly to the Round of 16 where they’ll be joined by the winners of the knockout round playoffs, which will feature the clubs finishing ninth through 24th. From the Round of 16 onward, the status quo will continue.

UEFA calendar changes

As for the calendar, UEFA will allot 10 weeks for the league phase fixtures. Each tournament will have a week of matches solely for itself. This means Champions League will have one full week of matches without Europa League and Conference League games going on, and the same will occur for the other two competitions.

There will be two weeks without the Conference League while the other two continue with their extra games. There will be five weeks with all three tournaments going on concurrently. Bar the solitary weeks for each, the Champions League will continue on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with the Europa League and ECL games maintaining the Thursday slot.

Extra Champions League places at league phase

For the new places in the Champions League, UEFA adjusted its original plans. There will still be one new place for domestic champions via the Champions Path in qualifying. Along with that, the third place team from the fifth best national association (France) will take another one of the coveted spots.

The other two places will be awarded to the two best leagues from the national association coefficient ranking in the previous season. That is to say, those two leagues will receive an extra place for the following season, permitting the highest ranked team in the league not qualified for Champions League proper to take part.

Using this season as an example, England and the Netherlands, in that order, would be the top two national associations based on performances across the three competitions. As a result, the Premier League would send five teams to Champions League and the Eredivisie would get two automatic spots, the third place team taking the qualifying round berth.

The rules governing how many teams from any single association has been changed. Now seven teams from one association can take part in Champions League (up from five). And up to 11 teams from one association can participate in Europe in the same season.

Should a country receive an extra place in the Champions League via a country’s performance in the previous season, that counts as an extra spot in Europe.

Information still unknown

Despite revealing the new format of the club competitions from the league phase on, UEFA did not release the complete access list. Moreover, nothing has been said about qualifying rounds. UEFA does have their 46th Ordinary Congress on Wednesday, with a press conference to follow.

The exact calendar for the league phase fixtures was also not announced though we know matches will start in September and last through January.

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With the major pieces of information finally out, clubs and associations can prepare for what will be two crucial seasons coming up to rack up more points and improve starting positions for the club competitions come 2024.