Expanded Teams, Increased Matches, and Modified Group Stage Aim to Ward Off European Super League Threat
In a bid to further elevate the excitement and competitiveness of the UEFA Champions League, plans for a revamped format have been confirmed, scheduled to take effect from the 2024/25 season. The announcement comes with significant changes, including the inclusion of four additional clubs and a staggering 50% increase in the number of matches.
The move is not just about enhancing the sporting spectacle but also serves as a strategic response to the lingering threat of a European Super League, which had gained traction back in 2021. Notably, all of the Premier League’s ‘big six’ teams had initially supported the breakaway league proposal, only for it to collapse amid widespread protests. In October 2022, the European Super League outlined its plans for a relaunch through A22 Sports Management, led by CEO Bernd Reichart.
The upcoming changes are designed to bolster UEFA’s standing among Europe’s elite clubs. The new format introduces a single group comprising 36 teams, replacing the previous structure of eight groups of four. During the revamped group stage, each team will play eight matches, split evenly between four home and four away fixtures.
🚨| The NEW Champions League format commencing from the 24/25 season EXPLAINED… pic.twitter.com/5hVBFRHL2L— CentreGoals. (@centregoals) May 14, 2023
Following the group stage, all teams will be ranked in a table, with the top eight automatically advancing to the round of 16. Clubs finishing between ninth and 24th will enter a play-off round, competing for the remaining eight places in the knockout stage. Subsequently, the tournament will proceed with the familiar two-legged round of 16, quarterfinal, and semifinal matches, culminating in the grand final.
The 2025 Champions League final is slated to be held at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena, adding to the anticipation surrounding the revamped competition. Furthermore, the modified format could potentially see an increased representation of Premier League clubs, with additional slots allocated based on the performance of the two best European nations from the previous season and a third spot for the fifth-ranked nation in the UEFA standings.
However, the Premier League’s bid for an additional spot in the upcoming season’s competition might be jeopardized due to the early exits of Manchester United and Newcastle United from the current Champions League campaign. As clubs and fans digest the intricacies of the new format, anticipation builds for a fresh era of European football set to unfold in 2024/25.
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