Understanding the revised Champions League format: Potential inclusion of seven Premier League teams

With the controversially expanded competition from UEFA being introduced from next season, this will be the final year of 32 teams being divided into groups of four. However, more games and clubs will be good news for English clubs.

Uefa Champions League Format Could Lead To 7 Teams From Premier League

The Champions League group stage commences on Tuesday evening, with Manchester City aiming to achieve a rare feat – being the first club, other than Real Madrid, to secure consecutive titles since 1990.

This season also marks a significant return, as Newcastle United makes its first appearance in the competition in two decades.

However, other Premier League teams are also eager for success, as they hope to progress deep into the tournament. This ambition is driven by the desire to secure a fifth English club’s participation in the expanded tournament slated for the following season.

In the current campaign, 32 teams are competing, divided into eight groups of four. However, the landscape will change for the 2024-25 season with the introduction of UEFA’s “Swiss model.”

This revamped format will accommodate four additional teams, leading to 64 more matches. Each participating club will have a minimum of eight fixtures, with the majority playing ten. All 36 clubs will be placed into a league table and engage in eight round-robin games.

Following this stage, the top eight clubs will advance to the last 16, while teams ranked ninth to 24th will enter the first knockout round. Notably, those ranked 25th and below in the table will no longer have the opportunity to drop into the Europa League.

Two of the four additional slots will be allocated to the leagues with the highest coefficients, currently held by the Premier League and La Liga. The coefficient rankings are determined by the collective performance of all teams from a national association over the past decade. Although England currently leads the rankings comfortably, it’s essential to maintain consistent performance to retain this standing.

Assuming that this season’s quartet of clubs perform as expected, the fifth-place finisher in the Premier League will earn an extra spot in the following autumn’s Champions League. While it’s a rare scenario, there’s a slim possibility of having seven representatives in the next season’s Champions League.

This would occur if English teams, not finishing in the top five domestically, secure victory in both the European Champions League and Europa League. For example, if Arsenal finishes sixth but wins the May final at Wembley, and West Ham United goes far in the Europa League without a high domestic ranking, almost a quarter of the next season’s Champions League teams could hail from England.

Furthermore, the other two teams to complete the 36-team lineup will emerge from the third-place finisher in the league ranked fifth in the UEFA coefficient (currently the Eredivisie, slightly ahead of Ligue 1), and an additional spot earned through the qualifying rounds.

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