Ahead of the 2023/24 Champions League group stage draw, the hosts confirmed that this will be the final season with the old competition format.
Starting from next season, things will be very different. Here are the main changes.
– Instead of 8 groups with 4 teams, there will be just one group with 36 teams;
– Each team in the group will play against 8 different opponents: 4 matches at home, 4 away;
– The top 8 teams from the group will qualify for the last 16;
– Teams finishing 9th to 24th will play the playoff round for the 8 remaining spots while the remaining 12 teams get eliminated;
– Starting from the last 16, the tournament is similar to what we have now: simple knockouts until the final clash.
Since there are more participating teams (36 instead of 32) and group stage / playoff fixtures, there will be a 50 per cent increase in the number of matches played.
While many prominent managers complain about the number of fixtures which cause injuries, FIFA and UEFA do their best to make things even more complicated for players.