Plans from UEFA for a new Champions League format will go ahead as of the 2024/25 season with an extra four clubs involved and a 50% increase in the number of matches.
Alongside receiving extra prize money as a result, top clubs’ respective schedules will get tougher as UEFA look to keep Europe’s elite on their side following the threat of another European Super League proposal.
Numerous clubs, including all of the Premier League’s ‘big six’ sides were convinced to accept the proposal of a breakaway league back in 2021 with plans eventually falling through following numerous protests.
Back in October, the European Super League announced its plans to relaunch the league through company A22 Sports Management, fronted by its CEO Bernd Reichart.
Clubs are still largely on UEFA’s side, however the new Champions League format has been explained and it’s slightly confusing to say the least.
🚨| The NEW Champions League format commencing from the 24/25 season EXPLAINED… pic.twitter.com/5hVBFRHL2L
— CentreGoals. (@centregoals) May 14, 2023
A single group of 36 teams will replace the format of eight groups of four, with each side playing eight matches during the new group stage. Four will be at home and four away.
Following the group stage, all teams will be formatted into a table with the top eight sides automatically qualifying for the round of 16 while clubs finishing between ninth and 24th will enter a play-off round for the eight remaining places.
Once that process has commenced, ongoings in the Champions League will proceed as normal with a two-legged round of 16, quarter-final and semi-final before the eventual final. The 2025 final is currently scheduled to be played at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena.
In response to the new format, supporters have taken to Twitter to share their thoughts with very few in support of it…
“This is just the Super League in disguise,” said one supporter while another exclaimed the new format is “an absolute joke.”
More went on to share their detest towards the format with comments including, “this is absolute garbage”, “this is a hideous idea” and “this is nasty.”
Another fan went on to highlight that the current format didn’t need alteration, saying: “This is horrendous. The best, most prestigious competition in European football ruined. The format is good as it is and doesn’t need changing at all. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
The format could also see more Premier League clubs qualify for the Champions League with additional slots allocated to the two best European nations over the previous season and a third for the fifth nation in the UEFA ranking.
Manchester City and Arsenal have already secured their place in next season’s Champions League while Newcastle United and Manchester United are the two sides currently on course to secure the remaining two spots for English clubs.