How the European competitions are changing

Monday 04 March 2024 16:29

UEFA has confirmed the changes to the format of the club competitions that will come into effect next season.

Manchester United are looking to qualify for Europe but face a tough battle to reach a top-four spot, with the weekend results leaving the Reds 11 points adrift of Aston Villa.

However, fifth place could be enough to get into the top tournament, depending on how well the English teams perform in the remainder of the games in this term's Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League.

Tottenham are currently occupying fifth spot in the Premier League, six points clear of Erik ten Hag's men in sixth, with a game in hand after their London derby with Chelsea was postponed.

There is a lot of football to be played, and the Premier League is currently in third in the overall points rankings behind Serie A and the Bundesliga. The top two nations get an additional slot and it all comes down to how the league's sides perform in Europe this season.

The 2024/25 Champions League will, as planned, adopt the so-called 'Swiss system', with the group stage being replaced by an overall 36-team table.

There will be eight matches for each club, played over the 10 weeks allocated to European football.

The radical change is every club will play the eight fixtures against eight different opponents, four at home and four away. The top eight sides qualify for the knockout stage, with the teams finishing ninth to 24th going into two-legged play-offs in order to reach the last 16.

Similar format changes will be made to the Europa League, with eight matches in the league stage as well, and the Conference League (six matches). These two competitions will feature 36 teams at that point of the tournament.

Each competition will be self-contained from the group stage onwards, meaning teams eliminated from the Champions League can no longer drop into the Europa League, for example.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin commented: “We are convinced that the format chosen strikes the right balance and that it will improve the competitive balance and generate solid revenues that can be distributed to clubs, leagues and into grassroots football across our continent, while increasing the appeal and popularity of our club competitions."