The Champions League is changing from a 32 team tournament to a 36 team tournament, with a bizarre new format to replace the initial groups.
The ‘Swiss style’ first section will involve all 36 sides in a league, with clubs playing 10 games each in total – and then 16 eventually qualifying for the knockout stages.
It will create more random fixtures and bigger ties early on – but it will also be grossly unfair based on what teams you draw at home or away.
Simon Stone, journalist, says it’s 99% certain to happen and UEFA will announce it soon…
Told its 99% certain the new 36 team Champions League, including 10-match 'Swiss style' first section from 2024 will be agreed and signed off within next 36 hours.
— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) March 30, 2021
Is there anything wrong with the Champions League in its current format? No.
But will everyone make more money in the new format? Yes.
How big teams will be expected to play 10 ‘group stage’ games alongside two domestic cups – with those players also fulfilling international fixtures – is anyone’s guess.
Another nail in the coffin for the game we love, we imagine.
Here’s how it will work, according to Football Critic:
– 32 teams will be split into four seeded pots, as they are currently
– Each team will play 10 matches, five at home and five away
– These fixtures are derived based on your seeding. So, for example, if Manchester United were seeded in pot one, they could expect two matches against other pot one teams, three matches against pot two and three, and two against pot four
– The home and away structure at the moment is therefore scrapped
– Once all 10 matches have been played, all 32 teams are entered into a giant league table
– The top eight teams automatically qualify for the knockout stages, and are also guaranteed entry into the following season’s competition
– Teams ranked 9-24 then enter the playoff round where the winners join the top eight seeds in the Round of 16
– Once the 16 teams have been derived, fixtures will be ordered based on the ranking in qualification. For example Seed #1 will play against Seed #16, Seed #2 versus Seed #15, and so on
– From there, the tournament takes on a regular format of home v away knockout competition until the final