UEFA mull expanding UCL group stages to 36 teams

October 20 – UEFA are considering radical plans to change the format of the Champions League to allow 36 clubs in the group stage according to unconfirmed reports.

The Daily Telegraph said the change, up from 32, would start in 2024-25 as part of the next calendar cycle.

The paper says two options are being studied, the first dividing 36 teams into 6 groups with each playing 10 matches homer and away. The second option provides that each team will play 10 matches with ten different opponents, based on a seeding system with a final decision made next year.

The 36-team plans could  find favour with Europe’s mid-sized nations who struggle to get teams into the current competition where England, Spain, Germany and Italy have 16 of the 32 group stage slots automatically.

UEFA have been under pressure for months from Europe’s leading clubs to come up with a way of providing more competitive fixtures and therefore more income.

Claus Thomsen, chief executive of the Danish Superliga said: “More teams from non-top five leagues need to have access to the Champions League and the Europa League.”

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