It's been confirmed that the forthcoming Champions League format change will accommodate two 'lucky losers'.
Starting with the 2024-25 season, European football's premier competition will expand from 32 to 36 teams.
However, two of those 36 spots will go to teams who haven't actually qualified for the Champions League.
Original proposals floated last year had originally held aside four places for teams based purely on their UEFA coefficient - ie, their European performance in the preceding five seasons. That number was eventually whittled down to two.
UEFA has now agreed that those two places will go to teams who finished immediately outside the Champions League places in their respective leagues. So, for instance, should Liverpool or Manchester City finish 5th in the Premier League in 2023-24 then they will be granted a pass to the Champions League instead of the Europa League.
A maximum of six teams from any one association will be allowed in the Champions League.
"I think when you add domestic performance to it, which we did, you have to look for the whole picture – how do we actually have the quality competitions, the premium competitions and then the inclusion," said European Club Association vice-chair, Aki Riihilahti.
“So now, when we add domestic performance, so that the next best [outside of Champions League places) is there, so that there’s no leapfrogging, it’s fair.
“It adds value, and overall if you look at the total picture, it makes sense. So as [chief executive of] a smaller country champion [HJK Helsinki] I was very OK with the whole thing.”
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