Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has unveiled a new format for its club competitions starting from the 2024 and 2025 seasons.
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin announced the new format after his Executive Committee approved it on Monday.
He announced the changes hours after some European top clubs announced the formation of European Super League.
Čeferin said the reforms come after an extensive consultation across the football family and received unanimous backing from the ECA Board and the UEFA Club Competitions Committee (made of a majority of club representatives) last Friday.
Čeferin said: “This new format supports the status and future of the domestic game throughout Europe as well. It retains the principle that domestic performance should be the key to qualification and reconfirms the principles of solidarity right through the game and of open competition.
“This evolved format will still keep alive the dream of any team in Europe to participate in the UEFA Champions League thanks to results obtained on the pitch and it will enable long-term viability, prosperity, and growth for everyone in European football, not just a tiny, self-selected cartel.”
The new format has seen UEFA Champions League teams increase from 32 to 36
“Every club will now be guaranteed a minimum of 10 league stage games against 10 different opponents (five home games, five away) rather than the previous six matches against three teams, played on a home and away basis.
“The top eight sides in the league will qualify automatically for the knockout stage, while the teams finishing in ninth to 24th place will compete in a two-legged play-off to secure their path to the last 16 of the competition,” Uefa says.
Similar format changes will also be applied to the UEFA Europa League (8 matches in the league stage) and UEFA Europa Conference League (6 matches in the league stage).
Qualification for the UEFA Champions League will continue to be open and earned through a team’s performance in domestic competitions.
One of the additional places will go to the club ranked third in the championship of the association in fifth position in the UEFA national association ranking.
Another will be awarded to a domestic champion by extending from four to five the number of clubs qualifying via the so-called “Champions Path”.
The final two places will go to the clubs with the highest club coefficient over the last five years that have not qualified for the Champions League group stage but have qualified either for the Champions League qualification phase, the Europa League or the Europa Conference League.
All games before the final will still be played midweek, recognising the importance of the domestic calendar of games across Europe.