As well as this, a fourth substitute will be allowed during Extra Time of knock-out stages in both the Europa League and Champions League. In the respective finals, 12 subs will be available on the benches, too.
On top of these rules regarding players, UEFA state that kick-off times will be staggered – enabling fans to watch two live games on both the Tuesday and the Wednesday.
Here’s a full list of the new regulations:
• From the 2018/19 season, a fourth substitute listed on the match sheet may take part in knockout matches exclusively during extra time. This will not affect the other three substitutions.
• Exceptionally for the UEFA Champions League final, UEFA Europa League final and UEFA Super Cup, 23 players (instead of 18 players for all other matches) may be included on the match sheet. This will allow 12 substitutes (instead of seven) to sit on the bench in these finals – giving clubs and, in particular, coaches more flexibility regarding substitutes, and facilitate their squad management for the most important fixture of the season.
• New kick-off times in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League:
- UEFA Champions League play-offs, group-stage games, round of 16 matches, quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final will kick off at 21:00CET. However, on every group-stage matchday, two of the Tuesday and two of the Wednesday matches will kick off at 18:55CET. All fixtures on the last matchday will be played simultaneously. Exceptions to this rule can be made by the UEFA administration.
- UEFA Europa League matches from the group stage until round of 16 matches will kick off at 18:55 and 21:00CET. The kick-off times will be decided in accordance with the draw. In principle, games within a group will be played simultaneously on the last matchday. The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will all kick off at 21:00CET. Exceptions can be made by the UEFA administration.
- Regarding the registration of players after a group stage of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, a club may register three new eligible players without any restrictions. This is in line with the existing regulatory situation in the different domestic leagues, which does not impose restrictions on the eligibility for competitions of players registered for a new club during the winter transfer window.
Liverpool fans were convinced Coutinho would stay at Anfield this January, precisely because he’s banned from representing any other club in the Champions League until next season.
Of course, Barcelona spent £142m on his signature anyway, but in many other potential transfers, the current rule has put clubs off buying stars until the summer.
Our chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League look pretty good, providing we beat Crystal Palace on Saturday.
If we down the Eagles (no mean feat, considering they’re battling relegation and we often struggle at Selhurst Park), we’ll be ten points ahead of Chelsea in 5th, who have Spurs to play on Sunday.
They’ll have games in hand, but that’s some buffer with April approaching.