​The Women's Super League will be awarded with an extra Champions League spot for the upcoming 2021/22 season when the competition expands to include a last 16 group stage.


At present, only two sides from the WSL are granted a place in Europe's elite club competition, with the new change to the Champions League layout coming as a result of the rise in popularity of women's football.


Arsenal and Manchester City were granted a place for this year's edition following their finish in the previous Women's Super League table, with third place Chelsea missing out despite reaching the semi-final stage of the competition the previous season.

The revamp, as revealed by ​UEFAwill see each of the top six nations - as determined by UEFA’s coefficients - granted a third team. Meanwhile, countries ranked seventh to 16th will have two entrants.


Since 2009, the competition has used groups in the qualifying rounds but the last 32 onwards has seen a two-leg affair, in knockout format. The new format will see four groups of four in the last 16 stage, with teams playing each other home and away before the top two sides in each group qualify for the quarter-finals.


“By guaranteeing teams more matches against their elite rivals, we believe that the group structure will raise the quality of the women’s game even more," UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said, via ​The Guardian.


Director of competitions Giorgio Marchetti added, via the ​BBC: "There is a clear increase of interest in the women's game. We see it from everywhere."

UEFA Women's Champions League"Women: Olympique Lyonnais v FC Barcelona"

"It's been a long process. The talks about changing the format and creating a group stage started several years ago. We pushed it back because we felt the conditions were not yet met. So we think the time is right to do for women what we did for men many years ago."


The change means a 20% increase in the number of matches, with the aim to provide the tournament with more competitive games that offer increased visibility and quality.