Monday, March 20, 2023

UEFA Champions League format: Extra spots to be awarded to best-performing European teams


UEFA will award two Champions League berths based on continental performance from 2024 onwards. European soccer’s governing body has confirmed that it has reached a compromise with clubs which were looking to guarantee UCL qualification in case they failed via their domestic league.

UEFA will give the two best-performing European countries an additional spot each. This effectively scraps the proposal to reward the highest-ranked clubs in favor of a formula to calculate which countries have achieved the most on the continental scene. Had this been in place this season, England and the Netherlands would have benefited with Tottenham, West Ham United and Manchester United those most concerned by a potential fifth-placed Premier League finish.

Also, UEFA has agreed to reduce the number of Champions League group games from the proposed 10 to eight, which is still an increase of two from the current six. Consequently, there will be 10 European match weeks which should allow for flexibility between the Champions League, Europa League, and Europa Conference League scheduling.

“UEFA has clearly shown today that we are fully committed to respecting the fundamental values of sport and defending the key principle of open competitions, with qualification based on sporting merit, fully in line with the European sports model,” said President Ceferin in an official release.

“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 find the best solution for the development and success of European football.

“We are convinced that the format chosen strikes the right balance and that it will improve the competitive balance and generate solid revenues that can be distributed to clubs, leagues and into grassroots football.”

The agreement was reached in conjunction with the European Club Association (ECA) at meetings in Vienna and avoids the Champions League resembling the previously failed Super League too closely.

The current edition of the Champions League has one match remaining with the final between Liverpool and Real Madrid set for Saturday, May 28 at 3 p.m. ET. You can watch that match live on CBS and Paramount+

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