The most significant change is the new format, which will now be the league before the game reaches the playoffs. There will be more games and teams with this new format, but the change can sometimes be hard to understand. However, UEFA sees a need to change the current competition structure, which has existed since the 1990s.
Starting from the 2024/25 season, the UEFA Champions League will be played under new regulations, which will replace group stage matches with a 36-team ranking. The teams are divided into eight groups of four, but with the new format, the UEFA Champions League will be a single league of 36 teams. Instead of dividing the teams into eight groups of four, as they are now, all clubs fit into one giant table. The new format means teams will play four more games than the current configuration, with each club facing ten different opponents in the group stage, five at home and five away. This will allow four other teams to compete with the best clubs in Europe. In the new 2024/25 season format, the Champions League group stage will expand from 32 to 36 teams playing in a single league format. Instead of playing only three teams twice in the group stage, as is currently the case.
While the top eight teams automatically advance to the Round of 16, the ninth to 24th placed teams will go to the playoffs. There will be an additional path for second place in the Champions Qualification Path, which means that not four but five National Championship winners will qualify. Teams finishing 25th or lower are eliminated without access to the UEFA Europa League. The eight teams that win the playoffs will then advance to the Round of 16, where they will each face one of the top eight teams in Group 16 and beyond. The Champions League will continue to follow the existing play-off round format. The final is to be held at a neutral venue chosen by UEFA. The new league format should mean there is still a lot to play before the last night of the league. Qualification for the Champions League will remain open and will depend on the clubs’ final standings in domestic league competition compared to previous seasons.
The main idea of the whole reconstruction is to allow fans to see more of the best teams in Europe in the early stages of the UEFA Champions League, as they have another 100 matches to play. It’s easy to see why UEFA believes that a vast play-off table will add drama to the competition, as each game can significantly impact the position of the teams in the standings. What is your take on the new format?.