Champions League new format: What could the new rules be for the UEFA Champions League?

Champions League: Who will win it?

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Champions League action returns next week, with the quarter-finals of the 2020/2021 season. Three Premier League teams made it through the group stages, and subsequently into the quarter-finals. But, in just a few years’ time, their route to the latter stages of the competition might appear very different.

UEFA is expected to change the format of the Champions League, which would see the group stages in their current form completely scrapped.

European football’s governing body has been in talks to change the format for two years.

UEFA officials and representatives of the European Club Association have backed the change.

But, there is still huge opposition to the plans from the European Leagues organisation, which warns that the Champions League may become a closed competition.

What could the new rules be for the UEFA Champions League?

The Champions League is expected to change to a ‘Swiss model’ league system.

The competition would be expanded from 32 teams to 36, leaving space for two ‘wild card’ entries.

The first round of the competition will become league-based system, with each team playing 10 matches against varying levels of opponents.

At the end of the 10 matches, the leagues will be compiled into one big table to decide who progresses to the knockout phase.

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The top eight teams will automatically qualify for the knockout stages, according to The Times.

Teams lying between ninth and 24th place will enter into a play-off round to reach the Last 16.

All teams between 24th and 36th will be eliminated from the Champions League.

The plans would also mean that no teams ‘drop down’ into the Europa League, as they currently do for teams finishing in third place in the group stages.

The wild card entries would be reserved for teams with the highest UEFA co-efficient, but didn’t qualify for the Champions League in their domestic league.

For example, if the Premier League were to finish today, Liverpool would be given a wild card for next season’s Champions League, despite finishing 7th.

In the Premier League, the top four teams would automatically qualify for the league stage of Europe’s premium competition.

So, theoretically, if all the usual European suspects qualified for the Champions League in their own leagues, but two of the Premier League’s top teams failed to finish in the top four, there could be six Premier League teams in the competition for the following season.

UEFA was expected to agree to the new Champions League format on Wednesday this week (March 31).

But, it’s now believed the meeting has been postponed over continued opposition to the format change.

If the deal were to be ratified, it means even more fixtures for Premier League clubs competing for four trophies.

Mid-week matches would inevitably become even more commonplace, mirroring this season’s enhanced schedule.

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