UEFA is preparing a significant expansion of the Champions League, with a proposal that will create a virtual league with 36 teams, 4 more teams than the current group-stage, adding 100 matches bewteen the best European clubs.
With these changes, UEFA wants to make more money from its top league, trying at the same time to reduce the pressure of big clubs and the idea of a new SuperLeague.
The new system is expected to be implemented after the 2024 season and it will allow more matches between the biggest clubs, generating more income from television rights, marketing and commercial.
The so-called “Swiss system” will promote a virtual league that will replace the current group-stage. In this league, the 36 teams will be distributed according to their position in the UEFA ranking. The teams in the same “level” will play against each other, but all the teams will have the chance to fight for a place in the 16 final.
⚙️ UEFA is preparing a significant expansion of the @ChampionsLeague with this proposal:
✔️virtual league with 36 teams in the group-stage;
✔️+100 matches than actual format;
✔️ more 💶 to distribute to clubs from television rights and commercial and matchday revenues
📊 @tifosy pic.twitter.com/vrUSYfvHTl
— Finance Football ⚽️💶 (@FinanceFootball) February 24, 2021
The “new” Champions League will have a limit of 5 or 6 teams per country and 4 extra places via this way: 2 clubs according to UEFA rankings, another 1 for the league in the 5th place of the ranking and a plus 1 for the best league without any club in the competition.
The matches will be take place during the week, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, as usual, so national leagues can continue to be played during the weekends.
The final 16
In the new format, clubs in the first level will have the chance to play more games with teams from the same level, but they also wil have to play some matches with teams in the other levels.
There is no final decision as UEFA and clubs are deciding the last details of the new model.
But they already know that they wont have time to mantaing the structure of home and aways matches. For this reason, there will be random matches. All matches will count for the virtual league.
The first stage of the Champions League will probably take place between September and January, with the game being played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and, sometime, on Thurdays.
The 8 first in the virtual league will be directly qualified for the final 16 stage, while the teams betwenn the 16th and 24th position will have to play a playoff to be in the next stage.
While UEFA doesn’t want to exclude smaller teams from the competition, this new format tries to fight the idea of a new SuperLeague that Real Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus and other big clubs were pushing.