The Champions League will start from the 2024-25 season with an eight-day mini-championship, with 36 teams compared to the 32 that currently compete in the Champions League. group stage in six dates, UEFA decided on Tuesday, adopting a controversial reform that will offer more encounters to broadcasters.
At the end of its executive committee in Vienna, the European body adopted these changes, with two additional places allocated to the two best European nations of the previous season, in a concession to the great championships, and a third club classified for the fifth country in the UEFA index, currently France.
This reform, the most radical for twenty years, was decided a year after the storm of the European Super League, that short-lived private competition project launched by several mutinous clubs, including Real Madrid and Liverpool, They will meet on May 28 in the Champions League final.
“We are convinced that the chosen formula is harmonious, that it will improve the balance of the competitions and ensure solid income that can be redistributed (…), also increasing the attractiveness and popularity of our interclub competitions”, congratulated the UEFA presidentAleksander Ceferin, quoted in a statement.
Extending the first phase, the objective is to satisfy both diffusers, with 225 games total, instead of 125 todayto the clubs, who will have higher ticket sales, even in case of early elimination, and to viewers with attractive matches from the start.
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Two aspects raised questions, in a European football with a calendar already saturated and with precarious economic balances.
First the number of days of the mini-championship, initially set at ten, but has been eventually reduced to eight, and then the attribution of two of the four additional teams taking into account the UEFA coefficient, a proposal that favors the best championships.
The continental instance accepted a concession in the two points, attributing two of the four additional places through the classification of the championships concerned, and not directly to the best clubs.
The first eight teams at the end of the first phase will qualify for the round of 16, while those who occupy positions from 9 to 24 will go through a playoff with the knockout format with round-trip matches.
UEFA also decided that, with the exception of the final, all matches will continue to be played in the middle of the week.
The Europa League and the Europa Conference League have also been reformedwith a format traced to that of the new Champions.