News : Uefa decides to reform the Champions League with more teams and games
Even after top clubs announced that they would found their own Super League, the European Football Union Uefa decided to reform the Champions League. From the 2024/25 season, 36 instead of the previous 32 teams will take part in the group stage, and there will be a total of 100 more games, as Uefa announced on Monday after a decision by its executive committee.
Two of the four new places will no longer be awarded, as has been the case up to now, due to performances from the previous season. Instead, the clubs’ placements in the UEFA five-year ranking are decisive. Rainer Koch, Vice President of the German Football Association, was also entitled to vote as an Exko member.
Super League threatens European football
The decision was overshadowed by the plans of twelve European top clubs from England, Spain and Italy for an independent, international league – German clubs are currently not included. For the dozen, the expected income from the UEFA reform is not enough, and they also lack the security of being part of it internationally in any case.
The threatening backdrop for a Super League has been rebuilt again and again by the clubs involved, such as Real Madrid and Manchester United – now the scenario is as close and concrete as never before. In some countries the debate has already reached a political level. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the Super League plans “harmful”.
Champions League gets more teams and games
From 2024, the Champions League will no longer be played in eight preliminary round groups as usual. Instead there will be a league in which not everyone competes against everyone. Each team will play ten preliminary round games instead of the previous six. The eight top-ranked teams move directly into the round of 16. The teams in ranks nine to 24 meet in playoffs to determine the other eight participants in the knockout round.
There will also be changes in the other international competitions. The second-rate Europa League is played in the same format as the Champions League, but with only eight group games per team. In the Conference League, which will be introduced next season, there will be six preliminary round games per team. The reform is heavily criticized by organized supporters.