New Champions League format explained as Liverpool could qualify despite 5th place failure
Manchester City or Inter Milan will enter next seasons Champions League as reigning champions but it is set to be the final campaign of the competition as we know it.
From 2024-25 UEFAs new Swiss format will be introduced and the planned alterations have already divided opinion.
It will mean more games for players already nearing breaking point but the governing body, who signed off on the proposals at a meeting in Vienna last season, forecasts that it will lead to the competitions revenue being boosted by 33 per cent.
The usual suspects will be battling it out come spring but UEFA's grand plan is going to see more games across autumn and a longer path to separate the wheat from the chaff.
What is happening from 2024-25?
There will be 36 participating clubs, up from 32, who will play 189 matches instead of the current 125 in an elongated league phase that will replace the group stage.
Every team will play eight games, four at home and four away against different opponents. The top eight teams in the league will automatically progress to the round of 16 with the sides finishing between ninth and 24th competing in a seeded two-legged play-off. From there the competition will progress as the norm.