The Champions League could be modified as of next season. Europe's most important club competition is about to change its format in the final stage and the novelty would be announced in the coming weeks.
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According to information published by the website The Times, UEFA is analyzing severe changes from the semifinals of the tournament to create the " soccer week ". The proposal came from the very bowels of the organization after what happened in the 2019/20 edition when the pandemic interrupted the calendar and forced to create a Final Four in Portugal.
The body presided over by Slovenian Aleksander Ceferin will announce on May 11 at the UEFA Congress that the Final Four will be definitively installed as of the 2022/23 edition.
What is the objective?
The aim is to create a "soccer week" during which the four best teams in Europe will play their decisive matches in a single city. In this way, the semifinals would be a single match, just like the final, as was the case in 2020 for the international context.
It is worth remembering that this will not be the only change. UEFA announced a year ago that as of 2024 there will be 36 clubs in the competition, as opposed to the 32 that currently make up the initial phase. One of the major changes in the format of the competition is that in the first instance, the eight groups will be replaced by a single group.
What would the new format look like?
"Each club will be guaranteed a minimum of 10 league stage matches against 10 different opponents (five at home and five away), instead of the previous six matches against three teams, played home and away," UEFA reported in April 2021 in the official statement it published on its website.
Thus, "the top eight teams in the league will automatically qualify for the knockout stage, while the teams placed between ninth and 24th will compete in a two-legged play-off for a place in the round of 16 of the competition". Those placed from 25th to 36th will be eliminated.
Subsequently, and subject to modifications, the Champions League will continue with the current format of two-legged play-offs from the round of 16 to the semifinals. However, the creation of a "soccer week" could be announced on May 11, which would result in the semis being a one-legged affair.
For the time being, for the 2024/25 season, the four 'big' leagues (England, Spain, Germany, and Italy) will retain four direct participants. France, currently fifth, will have three assured. The winner of the previous season's Europa League will also have a place.
There will also be two places for clubs with the highest UEFA coefficient over the last five years that have not qualified for the Champions League group stage but have qualified for the Champions League, Europa League, or Conference League qualifying round.