UEFA make changes to Champions and Europa League from next season

Howard TerryMar 02, 2018

In total, 26 teams will go directly into the Champions League group stage as opposed to 22, meaning that only six will qualify for the group stages via the qualifying round.

Presumably in an effort to appease the bigger clubs and lessen the threat of a European superleague, four teams from each of the countries with the highest UEFA coefficients - now Spain, England, Germany and Italy - will have four guaranteed places in the group stage.

Starting next season, the winners of the Ladbrokes Premiership will have to navigate four rounds of qualifiers to reach the Champions League, after changes to European football's premier competition were announced.

UEFA officially announced the changes to the structures of both the Champions League and Europa League in 2016, which have now been explained on its official website.

That means whoever finishes fourth in the Premier League this season won't have to go through qualifying, unlike previous years.

Arsenal also suffered a shock home loss to Swedish side Ostersunds in the Europa League last week, although the Gunners progressed to the last-16 by virtue of a 3-0 first-leg victory.

- Only six qualifying spots in the group stages are up for grabs, rather than 10.

The Champions League usually kicks off at 7.45pm, but from the 2018-19 season, games will start at either 5.55pm or 8pm.

'We will not use it in the Champions League next season.

- A new preliminary round has been added to the qualifying phase.

Four clubs enter at this stage and contest a semi-final for a place in the first qualifying round.

And UEFA confirmed kick-off times for group games in both competitions are set to be staggered.

Beginning at the end of June - overlapping with next summer's World Cup in Russian Federation which concludes midway through July - the Champions League will operate its preliminary event as a mini knockout tournament.

"It could be a good project, useful for football, but we must not rush to take such decisions".

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