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What is the new Champions League format for next season? Europe’s elite competition set for major changes


This year’s Champions League campaign will be the final one as we know it, with the competition set for a major revamp next season. 

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin announced earlier this year that the competition will undergo some drastic changes from 2024/25.

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There will be major changes made to the Champions League from next year

More teams than ever will be taking part in Europe’s elite tournament with a whole new format to be introduced. 

talkSPORT.com runs you through the upcoming changes to the Champions League. 

Champions League format changes

From the start of the 2024/25 season, there will be a number of major changes to the Champions League format. 

The biggest of those is that the traditional group stage is being scrapped. 

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Instead of the usual 32 teams, 36 will be competing and they will take part in a single league phase that includes all sides. 

Each team will be guaranteed to play eight matches, with four being at home and four away. 

And every game will take place over a designated 10-week period. 

This means there will be an increase in games as 189 matches will be played rather than the 125 that has usually taken place. 

Most read in Champions League

Champions League changes

  • Number of teams increased from 32 to 36
  • Group Stage scrapped for League Phase
  • Teams guaranteed to play eight games
  • Total games played increased from 125 to 189
  • League Phase matches played over 10-week period

During the league phase, the top eight sides will automatically qualify for the knockout stage.

Meanwhile, those finishing from ninth to 24th in the league, will compete in a play-off consisting of two legs to decide who reaches the last 16. 

Due to there being four extra teams competing in the Champions League from the 2024/25 campaign onwards, the Premier League could have a fifth side able to qualify. 

UEFA announced that two of the four new slots will be given to the nations that achieve the best collective performance in Europe during the previous season. 

This is worked out by dividing the number of points earned by the number of sides competing in European competitions. 

If these rules existed in the last five years, England would have gained an extra Champions League spot in four of those five campaigns. 

One of the other additional slots will be given to the club ranked third in the fifth-placed nation in the UEFA national association rankings. 

And the final slot will go to a domestic champion who has qualified for the competition via the ‘Champions Path’. 

The Premier League could earn an extra qualification spot for the Champions League

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The Premier League could earn an extra qualification spot for the Champions LeagueCredit: Getty

In another change, clubs from the same country will be able to play against each other during the early knockout stages. 

Within the current format, teams from the same league cannot face each other until the quarter-finals. 

There will be similar changes to the format in the Europa League and Europa Conference League next campaign. 

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The Europa League will follow the exact same system as the Champions League with eight games played during the new league phase. 

In the Conference League, teams will only play six matches during that phase. 

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