UEFA nod for ‘game-changing’ Women’s Champions League

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Courtesy: UEFA

The UEFA Executive Committee at its meeting in Nyon, Switzerland, has voted to transform the format of its Women’s Champions League in 2021-22. The UEFA Executive Committee at its meeting in Nyon, Switzerland, has voted to transform the format of its Women’s Champions League in 2021-22. The move designed to boost competitiveness and increase exposure of women’s club football through its elite competition.

The changes, announced by the UEFA Executive Committee, represent a fundamental shift from the current format.  As of the 2021-22 season clubs in rounds 1 and 2 will be split into champions (for domestic league winners) and league paths as they try to reach the new 16-team group stage. This new round will see four groups of four teams playing each other home and away, with the top two in each group progressing to quarter-final matches, UEFA has stated.

“Today’s decision is a game-changer for women’s football,” said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin. “The world’s best women’s club competition will get both the platform and visibility it deserves.”

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UEFA’s decision also includes specific steps to increase exposure of its elite women’s club competition. Marketing and television coverage will be centralised from the group stage onwards, while – in its first season – eight match days (two in round 2, four in the group stage and both quarter-final legs) will be scheduled to ensure that they do not clash with any other major fixtures in the European football calendar.

The package of changes agreed demonstrates the commitment of European football’s governing body to implement its five-year strategic goal for the women’s game: to double the reach and value of the UEFA Women’s Champions League by 2024.

“When we launched our ground-breaking women’s football strategy #TimeForAction earlier this year, we promised to take concrete steps to ensure a more professional and prosperous women’s game,” said Mr Čeferin. “By guaranteeing teams more matches against their elite rivals, we believe that the group structure will raise the quality of the women’s game even more.”

The UEFA Executive Committee also confirmed the match schedule for UEFA Women’s EURO 2021. The tournament will take place from 7 July to 1 August 2021, with the final being played at Wembley Stadium in London. The venue for the opening match will be confirmed in due course.

The regulations of the 2020-21 UEFA European Women’s Futsal Championship – which will be the second edition of the tournament – were approved.

The UEFA Executive Committee approved a child safeguarding policy and a child safeguarding toolkit for its member associations to ensure that football is a safe, positive and enjoyable experience for all children and young people involved.

Among other decisions, the UEFA Executive Committee also agreed to use VAR in the upcoming European Qualifiers play-offs in March 2020, and in the 2022 European Qualifiers for the World Cup, subject to approval from FIFA for the latter.

In yet another decision, Minsk was appointed the host city for the 2020 UEFA Futsal Champions League finals. It will be the first time ever that the finals are staged at a neutral venue. The teams of Barça (ESP), KPRF (RUS), Murcia FS (ESP) and Tyumen (RUS) will compete for the title from 23 to 26 April 2020.

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