New Champions League format with 10-match first phase set to be agreed

champions league

Every team that qualifies for the Champions League will go into one 36-team league table where each club will play 10 matches.

A new Champions League format – featuring a 10-match first phase from 2024 – is expected to be agreed by Uefa on Wednesday.

The proposal has been worked on for over two years and it is being sent across to Uefa’s executive committee who will likely sign off on the new format.

Champions League format.

Under the new format, the current group phase of eight groups of four will be scrapped. 

The number of teams will be increased from 32 to 36, with space for two ‘wild cards’ spots.

The wild cards will be reserved for clubs with the highest Uefa co-efficient – points used to rank clubs based on their past European success – who have not qualified for Champions League through their league position.

Taking the example of this season, Liverpool would get the first wild card spot for next year’s competition as they currently lie seventh in the Premier League table.

Every team that qualifies for the Champions League will go into one 36-team league table where each club will play 10 matches. This is known as the ‘Swiss model’, a system made popular in chess.

Under the Swiss model, teams play a set number of games rather than facing every other team in the league.

The 10 matches each team will play will be decided by a seeding system.

Once all teams have played their 10 games, the top eight clubs in the 36-team league will progress to the competition’s knockout stage.

Those eight teams would also be guaranteed qualification for the following season’s Champions League.

The teams that finished in 9th to 24th (16 teams) would then enter a play-off round to determine the other eights clubs progressing to the knockout stage.

The knockout phase will involve 16 teams and will be the exact same as the current Champions League knockout format.

Swiss model.

Uefa are changing to a Swiss model as there will now be 225 Champions League games as opposed to the current 125.

This will mean more TV money for the bigger clubs who have been asking for more matches.

The Swiss model also gets rid of repetitive games so each club will now be playing 10 unique ties as opposed to the current model where they play three teams twice, home and away.

The new format is also expected to get rid of the mid-season break between December and mid-February which may cause a headache for the FA given the EFL Cup takes up a lot of those midweek slots.

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