The UEFA Champions League is set to undergo a significant transformation starting from the 2024-25 season. This change, known as the “Swiss model,” marks a departure from the traditional group stage format and introduces a more inclusive and dynamic structure.

“UEFA has clearly shown that we are fully committed to respecting the fundamental values of sport and to defending the key principle of open competitions, with qualification based on sporting merit, fully in line with the values and solidarity-based European sports model,” said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin. “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.”

UEFA has now released a helpful video that covers everything you need to know about the new structure.

Under the new system, the Champions League will expand to include 36 teams in its group stage, up from the current 32. This adjustment allows for a broader representation of clubs, ensuring a more competitive and engaging tournament. The essence of this reform lies in the league-phase fixtures, where each participating team is guaranteed to play eight matches—four at home and four away.

This setup contrasts sharply with the previous format, where teams were divided into eight groups of four, playing six games in a double round-robin system. In the revamped format, teams will not face three opponents twice but will instead compete against eight different teams, ensuring a variety of matchups and reducing the predictability of encounters.

These matches are determined through a draw that places the 36 teams into four pots based on their UEFA coefficients, with each club playing two teams from each pot. This method aims to balance the competition and create more “big matches” early in the tournament, enhancing its appeal and intensity. The final standings will be compiled into a single league table, with the top eight teams automatically advancing to the round of 16.

Teams finishing between ninth and 24th will enter a two-legged knockout play-off to secure one of the remaining eight spots in the last 16, adding another layer of excitement and uncertainty to the competition. Notably, there will be no country protection in the knockout rounds, setting the stage for potential domestic clashes in the latter stages of the tournament.

This overhaul also addresses the allocation of additional places in the Champions League. Two spots will be awarded to clubs from the best-performing leagues in Europe, based on their performance in the current season, while another place will go to the third-placed team in the league ranked fifth in the UEFA coefficient. Furthermore, the qualifying path for champions will see an increase from four to five teams, ensuring wider participation from across the continent.

The introduction of the Swiss model is driven by the desire for more games, which translates to increased revenue and more high-profile encounters between Europe’s elite clubs. By scaling back the original proposal from ten to eight group-stage fixtures, UEFA has managed to strike a balance between expanding the tournament and managing the football calendar more effectively.

As the Champions League embarks on this new era, fans can look forward to a tournament that promises more diversity in matchups, heightened competition, and an overall enhanced viewing experience. The 2024-25 season will undoubtedly mark the beginning of a thrilling chapter in the illustrious history of European club football.

Published By:

Saurabh Kumar

Published On:

Mar 4, 2024


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