UEFA has confirmed the slightly modified ‘final format’ of the expanded (Super) Champions League

UEFA sneaked in after last year’s Super League chase Notice regarding their own version of the pseudo-Super League, expanding Champions League 32 to 36 teams, exempting from the group stage and guaranteeing 4 extra games, adding an extra knockout round and providing a safety net for traditional big teams to continue to participate even if they have off-season in the country. (Just don’t call it the Super League!)

This format has now been slightly modified, but will continue from 2024-2025. as confirmed by UEFA today.

Changes over the past year include reducing the number of guaranteed matches from 10 to 8 (though still more than the current 6), and a slight change to the qualifying safety net that is unlikely to drastically change its function. Just don’t call it the Super League!

So, starting in 2024, the Champions League (the first European Cup) will take place for the first time since 1991 without at least one group stage, with all 36 teams included in one massive league and will play a total of 8 games (4 home, 4 away). ). The specific matches will be decided by UEFA’s computer, which uses the “Swiss model” for the draw, which will probably divide 36 teams into pots based on scales or odds, and then draw from there based on which pots play which other pots on which day. . (An example of how this works can be seen in Qualifications for the CONCACAF League of Nations 2019-20 which contained 34 teams in a league format playing only 4 games.)

After 8 matches (which already means two additional European mid-weeks), the top 8 teams will qualify directly for the round of 16, while the next 16 (i.e. 9-24) will play an additional two-match knockout round. So unless you end up in the bottom third of a league with 36 teams (essentially the same as it ended up at the bottom of your group before), you are now guaranteed at least 10 games.

If all this sounds like a mechanism that ensures a) more games and b) that big teams can get to the knockout rounds, it is because it is so. Just don’t call it the Super League.

And when we talk about big teams and safety nets, while additional places in the competition itself (i.e. group or now league phase) are no longer awarded based on historical odds and tradition, the effect is still pretty much the same. Only one (1) of the four additional places in the league with 36 teams will go to the team that goes through the qualifiers (a total of 5 instead of the previous 4 through the “Champion’s Path”), the other three (3) will be awarded based on league odds and rankings.

So while before only England, Spain, Italy and Germany had 3 guaranteed places in group championship phase (actually 4), the fifth-placed association will now also have 3 (hence France). And then the other two places will “go to the associations with the best collective performance of their clubs in the previous season” – in the current case it would be England (so the first five would be guaranteed) and the Netherlands (the first two would be guaranteed).

Just don’t call it the Super League.

I mean, we shouldn’t complain. This aims to benefit teams like Chelsea. (There are similar changes in the formats of the European League and the European Conference League, but we hope that we will never have to step into these things soon.)

Thank you, UEFA!

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