UEFA Announces Champions League New Format Featuring Seeded Draw for Last 16

UEFA Announces Champions League New Format Featuring Seeded Draw for Last 16

In a major revamp of the Champions League, UEFA has unveiled a new format that will include a tennis-style seeding system for the last-16 knockout phase.

Champions League New Format Comes with New System For Last 16

The changes, revealed on Tuesday, will see the competition expand from 32 to 36 clubs, with the current group stage format of six groups of four teams replaced by a single group where teams will face eight games against different opponents.

Under the new structure, the top eight clubs will automatically qualify for the last 16, while clubs finishing ninth to 24th will compete in a playoff round to determine the remaining eight spots.

One of the significant alterations is the introduction of a tennis-style seeding system for the last-16 draw. This means that clubs will be seeded based on their performance in the group phase, preventing top-seeded teams from facing each other until the final and avoiding matchups with lower-seeded teams until the semifinals.

Giorgio Marchetti, UEFA’s Deputy General Secretary and Director of Football, highlighted that the revamped format aims to increase unpredictability, facilitate more matches between top clubs, and reduce the number of dead rubbers.

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The New Format Draw Ceremony

Furthermore, the draw ceremony for the new format will undergo changes, transitioning to a hybrid system that combines traditional ball picking with digital methods.

This adjustment aims to streamline the process, as the traditional manual draw process involving balls would be too time-consuming for the expanded tournament.

The announcement marks the first significant change to the Champions League format since the introduction of the 16-team knockout round in the 2003-04 season.

UEFA’s decision to implement these modifications underscores its commitment to enhancing the excitement and competitiveness of Europe’s premier club competition.