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Champions League

UEFA to give Champions League reforms the green light at the end of March

Ali Rampling
Champions League reforms are poised to be approved at the end of March
Champions League reforms are poised to be approved at the end of March / AFP Contributor/Getty Images
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UEFA are poised to give the proposed Champions League reforms the green light at the end of March, with the tournament's new format to be introduced ahead of the 2024/25 season.

The current format has been in place since the 2003/04 campaign, with 32 teams divided into eight groups of four for a round robin group stage to determine who qualifies for the last 16.

However, the amendments to European football's most prestigious club football competition have been in the pipeline for some time, with the headline reforms including an expansion to 36 teams and replacing the group stages with a 'Swiss System'.

According to the Athletic, UEFA are expected to give the new format the go ahead on Wednesday 31 March.

The biggest change to the current format is ditching the familiar group stages in favour of a Swiss System, whereby each team will play 10 matches - five home and five away - against opposition of weighted quality, with the seeding determined by UEFA.

The results from the 10 matches will determine league standing, and the top eight teams will progress to the last 16. The next 16 teams will fight it out in the playoffs to determine who completes the knockout stage lineup.

FBL-EUR-C1-PSG-BAYERN MUNICH
Bayern Munich are the reigning Champions League champions / MIGUEL A. LOPES/Getty Images

Expanding the competition to 36 clubs means that there are an extra four spaces available in the competition. UEFA are proposing that one of these slots goes to the team that finishes fourth in Europe's fifth strongest league - which at present is France, with Portugal hot on their heels.

Controversially, the remaining three Champions League spots would be allocated on the basis of historical performance in European competitions over the previous five seasons, protecting European's elite clubs if they are underperforming domestically. This has been met by opposition across the continent.

The greater number of teams will see the number of games also increase, with between six to 10 extra fixtures added.


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