UEFA announces Champions League changes for 2021/22 season

European governing body UEFA has announced a plan to revamp the format of the Women’s Champions League.

The new format will see a group stage introduced with four groups of four teams replacing the round of 16.

The top two teams from each group will progress to the quarter-finals of the competition.

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The changes were agreed upon by the UEFA Executive Committee under the #TimeForAction campaign.

Currently, all marketing for Champions League games is done by the home side of every fixture.

This will change in 2021/22 season with UEFA centralising all marketing efforts from the group stage onwards.

In the first season of the new format, UEFA will make a conscious effort to ensure that matches do not clash with other major footballing competitions.

The top six ranked countries will all enter three teams to that season’s Champions League. This means that the Women’s Super League in England will have three spots, increasing it from the current two.

As it stands, France, Germany, Sweden, Spain and the Czech Republic will be the other nations able to enter three sides.

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The countries with clubs ranked from seventh to sixteenth will enter two sides. All other countries will enter their league champions.

Only four teams will be guaranteed passage to the group stage. The reigning UWCL champions and the champions of the top three leagues.

Other teams will have to progress through a convoluted tournament system that UEFA have introduced in order to ensure at least 10 nations are represented in the group stage.

The new format will allow for greater television coverage for the UWCL and will increase overall quality in European football.

How will it actually work?

Prior to the group stage, the competition will be split in two. There will be a champions path and a league path.

Teams will get drawn into “mini-tournaments”.

UEFA said: “The one-venue tournaments will be played with one-off semi-finals, a third-place match and a final.”

UEFA have given no indication as to why the third-place play-off matches are happening, their brief details the fact that only the final winners will go through.

The three champions of associations four to six and the winners of Round 1 will compete in the Round 2 champions path with two legs, home and away.

This means that the champions from associations four to six have a Round 1 bye in the Champions League.

This is the same for the runners up from associations one to six in the league path. They enter at the second round and join the winners of round one.

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Seven teams from the champions path progress to the group stage and five teams from the league path go through.

The knockout stages remain unchanged. The quarter-finals and semi-finals will both be two-legged ties.

The final will remain at a predetermined neutral stadium and will still hopefully happen the weekend before the men’s equivalent.