UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) on Tuesday announced several changes it has approved for Champions League 2024. The new format will increase the number of fixtures. Hence fans will be able to watch the top European teams lock horns more frequently. It will also ensure that any result has the potential to dramatically change a team’s position.
What are the changes?
UEFA announced a reformatted group stage – reduced from 10 rounds to eight. Backup places for teams based on historical performance have been removed.
UCL will expand from 32 to 36 teams based around a single standings rather than eight groups. Two additional additional places in the expanded format awarded to the two countries with the highest UEFA ranking based on their teams’ results in European competitions the previous season.
“UEFA has clearly shown today 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,” UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said.
“Today’s decisions conclude an extensive consultation process during which we listened to the ideas of fans, players, coaches, national associations, clubs and leagues to name but a few, with the aim to find the best solution for the development and success of European football, both domestically and on the international club stage.”
The first main stage to the new-look Champions League will see eight teams qualify automatically for the round of 16. But finishing up to 24th out of the 36 teams will secure entry into the 16-team playoff round.
There will be 10 weeks set aside for European games from 2024, but only eight will be used for the three UEFA competitions, which will each gain a week of exclusivity to particularly help the Europa League and Europa Conference League garner more of the spotlight as they also expand to 36 teams.
The current 32-team Champions League produces 96 games in the group stage. Dropping from 10 to eight games per team will make an extra 64 games rather than 100 before the round of 16. That would have an impact on UEFA’s predictions of revenue rising about 40% from the current 3.5 billion euros ($3.8 billion) annually from its club competitions.