UEFA has confirmed the Champions League will witness an increase of four teams to 36 and the present group stage replaced by a single league from the 2024/25 season.
The new regulations indicate each team will play eight league games – four home and four away – as against to six in the group stage.
The top eight sides in the league will automatically qualify for the knockout rounds, while the teams that finish between ninth to 24th place will slug it out in a two-legged play-off in order to secure last 16 berths.
“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,” said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.
UEFA will hope the reforms will kill off once and for all, any intention of the ‘rebel’ Super League resurfacing.
Twelve of Europe’s biggest clubs signed up to the proposed new competition last year but it did not eventually live to see the light of the day after a series of strong criticisms from players and fans alike.
Various governments and several football’s governing bodies were also against the proposed move.
Although nine clubs refused to identify themselves with the project, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus insisted the project must go through.
Europe’s football governing body had retreated – after consultations with different parties – from having 10 league matches and sharing two of the four new places to teams based on club coefficient.
The four spots are given to the club ranked third in the championship of the association in fifth position in the UEFA national association ranking.
Another will be allocated to a domestic champion by extending from four to five, the number of clubs qualifying via the traditional ‘Champions Path’.
The final two places will then be given to the associations with the best collective performance by their clubs in the previous season (total number of points obtained divided by the number of participating clubs).
Those two associations if it had been judged on this campaign based on the collective performance of their clubs would be England and the Netherlands.
UEFA will also apply the format changes to the UEFA Europa League (8 matches in the league stage) and the UEFA Europa Conference League (6 matches in the league stage) and both will also include 36 teams in the league phase.
“I am really pleased that it was a unanimous decision of the UEFA Executive Committee, with the European Club Association, European Leagues and National Associations all agreeing with the proposal made,” said Ceferin.
“Another proof that European football is more united than ever.
“Qualification will thus remain purely based on sporting performance and the dream to participate will remain for all clubs.”