UK Football

UEFA vote to start 36-team Champions League in 2024

UEFA’s executive committee has voted to push ahead with the planned changes to the Champions League, including the expansion of the competition from 32 teams to 36.

Europe’s governing body has been looking to revamp the Champions League for a while now and key executives met in Switzerland on Monday to discuss finalising the plans, just one day after some of the game’s biggest names announced their intention to leave the competition in favour of joining the Super League.

Despite being under pressure by the 12 Super League teams, UEFA have opted to push ahead with their plans. According to Tariq Panja, it was a unanimous decision to continue with the changes.

Among those to vote in favour were Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who rejected the chance to join the Super League in favour of remaining loyal to UEFA.

Beginning in the 2024/25 season, 36 teams will be invited to participate – up four from the current rules – and all 36 will be part of one huge group, doing away with the eight groups of four teams that we have come to know.

Nasser Al Khelaifi
Al-Khelaifi opted to remain in the Champions League | Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Each of those teems will be seeded and ranked by strength, and those rankings will then be used to decide each side’s ten fixtures. It’s known as the ‘Swiss system’ and has been popularised in various other sports.

The eight sides who finish highest in the group will all qualify for the knockout stages, while those who finish between ninth and 24th will enter their own mini-tournament to decide the remaining eight teams to progress.

Originally, UEFA were panned publicly for the proposed changes, with many fans complaining that it was all about earning more money – and now look where we’re at.

Billed as ‘the biggest change to European football in decades’, this all now seems relatively tame in comparison to the breakaway Super League that has pretty much ripped the entire continent apart.

There will be 36 teams in the Champions League from the 2024/25 season, but as it stands, 12 of Europe’s biggest names will not be involved.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!

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