UEFA Champions League 2024 is expected to be played under an all-new format. But the decision to move from the current formula to a new one has been delayed to April 19. The UEFA executive committee was expected to put the seal of approval on the change of format on Wednesday, March 31, but the decision had to be postponed.
Sources within UEFA have told various media outlets that there are no big issues in the way of the change being put into effect for the 2024 season but a few small ones need resolution.
The new format will see a first phase where every team will play 10 matches in the first round of UCL. Afterward, the top-8 teams would go into the knockout round with the rest proceeding to a play-off round.
The 10 opponents of each team will range from strong to weak in order to ensure that no side gets treated unfairly. To bring about this change, the number of teams in the Champions League would be increased from 32 to 36, including two wild-card entries.
The wild-card entrants would be decided on the basis of a points system that takes into account teams’ performances in the past.
However, many in the English football circuit are unhappy because of these changes as this would put pressure on the schedule of the country’s tournaments. With 19 rounds of matches to be played in the new format, instead of the current 13, there will be more midweek fixtures for the teams to contend with.
The English tournament that is likely to bear the brunt of a heavier Champions League schedule is the EFL Cup. It is this tournament that takes up the mid-week spots available in the calendar of English football but would get squeezed due to UEFA CL matches as per the new format.
But, with an overwhelming majority of stakeholders and decision-makers in UEFA all set to give the nod of approval, it’s not a question of if but when the official announcement is made.