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All you need to know as Champions League braces for major changes

All you need to know as Champions League braces for major changes

All you need to know as Champions League braces for major changes

The Champions League is often considered as the peak of European football.

However, the event as we know it is set to undergo a major transformation.

The system will be changed beginning with the 2024/2025 season, with the knockout stages of the Champions League taking the format of tennis championships like as Wimbledon and the US Open.

The elimination of the country protection clause implies that teams from the same country, such as Liverpool and Manchester City or Barcelona and Real Madrid, will be able to play each other in the early knockout stages.

According to ESPN, the 24 teams who advance to the knockout rounds of the competition will have their probable route to the final seeded and pre-drawn based on their group stage result. It’s quite similar to what players like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal go through in tennis events.

The top two teams from each group will not be placed in the same section of the draw and will not be able to meet until the final.

This follows the decision to increase the number of clubs playing in the Champions League from 32 to 36; instead of numerous groups of four, there will be a single league table with all competitors.

The structure of the knockout rounds has yet to be determined, however it is thought that most people want a tennis-style system.

According to ESPN, the Champions League will be redesigned to include:

  • A final, 36 team group stage table, that ranks teams from 1-24 based on how well they performed
  • Teams that rank 1-8 in this group stage table are effectively seeded and enter in the round of 16, just like the group stage winners are under the current format
  • Teams ranked 9-24 play a knockout playoff round to reach the round of 16 and teams that finish 25-36 will be eliminated from Europe altogether
  • The knockout bracket will be split in two, with the teams ranked 1, 3, 5 and 7 in one half and 2, 4, 6 and 8 in the other.
  • The best performing clubs in the group stage, ranks 1 and 2, will be drawn into positions at the opposite end of the bracket, thus unable to meet each other until the final
  • Teams ranked 3 & 4, 5 & 6 and 7 & 8 will also be paired and have set positions in opposite halves of the bracket

More changes are expected, but there is still a long way to go before they are implemented, giving players plenty of time to adjust to the new Champions League structure.

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