The Champions League is undergoing a significant transformation for the 2024/25 season; the traditional group stage fixtures will change into the ‘Swiss Model’ type, hence the name Swiss Model Champions League.
UEFA has officially confirmed the adoption of a new format, featuring 36 clubs and expanding the number of games from 125 to 189. This revamped format, known as the ‘Swiss Model,’ brings all participating clubs into a single table, replacing the current arrangement of eight groups of four.
UEFA President explains the Swiss Model Champions League
Explaining the rationale behind this decision, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin stated, “UEFA has clearly shown today that we are fully committed to respecting the fundamental values of sport and to defending the key principle of open competitions, with qualification based on sporting merit, fully in line with the values and solidarity-based European sports model.
“Today’s decisions conclude an extensive consultation process during which we listened to the ideas of fans, players, coaches, national associations, clubs, and leagues, with the aim of finding the best solution for the development and success of European football, both domestically and on the international club stage.”
One of the slots in this new format will be allocated to the club that finishes 3rd in the league of the fifth-placed nation in the UEFA national rankings, currently occupied by France’s Ligue 1. This adjustment is necessary because the third and fourth-ranked nations already have their top four clubs advancing to the group stage. UEFA intends to ensure that the top two nations have five clubs each, while the other three have four clubs each.
Furthermore, the final group spot will be granted to a domestic champion, expanding the representation to five clubs qualifying through the ‘Champions Path.’
What about the Europa League and the Europa Conference League?
Both of the secondary European competitions will also embrace the Swiss Model from 2024, increasing their club count from 32 to 36. The Europa League will feature eight group matches, while the Europa Conference League will maintain six. Similar to the Champions League, a playoff round will determine the teams advancing to the last 16. However, there will be no relegation from the Europa League to the Europa Conference League.