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Football News: Champions League Revamp

Champions League Revamp
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Champions League Revamp

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With the furore surrounding the European Super League, the revamping of the Champions League seems to have slipped by almost completely unnoticed. But Livebird31 did ask if I would put something together about it for him to explain the new set up, so someone noticed, and realised it does not make a lot of sense the way they presented it!

 

The changes are to be introduced in the 2024/5 season, which will also see the return of a third tier European competition, though it is to be called the European Conference League rather than Cup Winners' Cup now. The new competition, and the Europa League, will all also follow the same format as the Champions League, though with less matches and teams in the league stage. Though, just to be difficult, they might be expanded to the same number of teams and matches before they are introduced.

 

The biggest change is that the group stage will be abolished and be replaced by a league stage. Also there will be 36 teams involved, rather than the 32 of the current group stage.

It is this bit that gets confusing as teams will play just 10 matches in the league stage, 5 home matches and 5 away matches.

No team will play another team twice in the league stage. So each team will play ten different opponents just once, either home or away, but never both.

There will be some kind of random draw to decide who faces who and when, though they have yet to confirm details of how the draw will be conducted. I think we can all be sure there will be some kind of seeding system used, as UEFA will want to ensure as many of the big TV draws as possible make it through the league stage and into the last 16 knockout stages.

Those ten games that they all play will decide the league table. They will not even all play each other once, so it is an odd way of doing it, which could end up producing massively lopsided results, in terms of the finishing positions.

The top 8 teams qualify automatically for the last 16 knockout stage.

Teams that finish 9th to 24th will be playing off in 2-legged ties to decide which goes through. They will have an extra two matches to play over the top 8. It has not yet been confirmed exactly how it will be decided who plays who in these play-offs.

Then it is the last 16 in standard two-legged ties until the final.

 

The most bizarre part is probably the way they have decided to allot the extra four league stage places:

1 goes to the club ranked third in the championship of the association which is in 5th place in UEFA's national association rankings. At the moment the rankings are:
1. England 97.426 points
2. Spain 96.569 points
3. Italy 74.867 points
4. Germany 73.570 points
5. France 56.081 points
6. Portugal 48.549 points
7. Netherlands 39.000 points
8. Russia 38.382 points
9. Belgium 36.500 points
10. Austria 35.825 points
11. Scotland 33.375 points
RIght now it would mean France would get a third team who go straight into the league stage.

1 more goes to a domestic champion, making it 5 coming through the 'Champions Path'. Which is where all the league champions which do not qualify directly through the group stage, at the moment, go into. At the moment, four qualify from the Champions Path, while the rest enter the Europa League.

2 come from a most convulted system, which is clearly aimed at helping the bigger clubs qualify even if they have a bad season. This consists of taking the club co-efficient over the last 5 years and the two with the highest score, that have not already qualified for the league stage but have qualified for the qualifiers or the Europa League or European Conference League, take those last two places. In other words, if the likes of Real Madrid finish 6th in La Liga, for example, they will still end up in the Champions League league stage in this fashion.

 

All in all, it does seem like UEFA have gone a long way towards meeting the ESL and keeping it a closed group that always qualifies, but without actually closing it off completely.

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Written by Tris Burke April 22 2021 09:58:28