The Champions League It will start from the 2024-2025 season with an eight-day mini-championship, with 36 teams compared to the 32 that currently dispute the group stage over six dates, decided this Tuesday the UEFAadopting a controversial reform that will offer more encounters to broadcasters.
At the end of its executive committee in Vienna, the European body adopted these changes, with two additional places allocated to the two best European nations of the previous season, in a concession to the major championships, and a third club classified for the fifth country in the index UEFAnow France.
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This reform, the most radical for 20 years, was decided a year after the storm of the European Super League, that short-lived private competition project launched by several mutinous clubs, including Real Madrid and Liverpool, who are going to face each other on the 28 May at the end of Champions League.
“We are convinced that the chosen formula is harmonious, that it will improve the balance of the competitions and ensure solid income that can be redistributed (…), also increasing the attractiveness and popularity of our inter-club competitions”, congratulated the president of the UEFAAleksander Ceferin, quoted in a statement.
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Extending the first phase, the goal is to satisfy both the broadcasters, with 225 games in total, instead of 125 at present, and the clubs, who will have higher income from ticket sales, even in the event of early elimination, since viewers with attractive matches from the start.
Two aspects raised questions, in a European football with an already saturated calendar and with precarious economic balances.
First, the number of days of the mini-championship, initially set at ten, but has finally been reduced to eight, and then the attribution of two of the four additional teams taking into account the coefficient UEFAa proposal that favors the best championships.
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The continental instance accepted a concession in the two points, attributing two of the four additional places through the classification of the concerned championships, and not directly to the best clubs.
The first eight teams at the end of the first phase will qualify for the round of 16, while those who occupy positions from 9 to 24 will go through a play-off with the knockout format with round-trip matches.
The UEFA it also decided that, with the exception of the final, all matches will continue to be played in the middle of the week.
The Europa League and the Europa Conference League have also been reformed, with a format similar to that of the new Champions League.