UEFA have announced huge changes to the Champions League rules, which are likely to take effect from the 2018 season.
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) August 26, 2016
Since the 2009-10 season, the 4th ranked teams have had to get past a qualification round before they could enter the group stages, while the top 3 teams had a direct entry into the competition.
But the rule change now means that the top 4 teams in Europe’s top 4 leagues will automatically qualify for the group stages of the competition.
The Europa League winners will also be granted direct access to the group stages from 2018. They currently have to go through the qualifying rounds as well.
These rule modifications have been put in place in order to increase the popularity of Europe’s elite competition.
The entire list of rule changes are as follows:
- The UEFA Europa League winners will automatically qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage (currently they can potentially take part in a play-off round).
- The top four clubs from the four top-ranked national associations will now qualify automatically for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.
- The full details of the access list for both competitions will be finalised by the end of the year.
- A new system for the club coefficients: clubs will be judged on their own records (deletion of the country share for individual club coefficient unless that coefficient is lower than 20% of the association’s coefficient).
- Historical success in the competition will also be acknowledged in coefficient calculation (points for previous European titles with a weighted system for UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League titles)
- Financial distribution to clubs will be increased significantly for both competitions.
- A new four-pillar financial distribution system (starting fee, performance in the competition, individual club coefficient and market pool) will see sporting performances better rewarded, while market pool share will decrease.