UEFA change format as top four EPL clubs will qualify directly into Champions League group stages with new format to be implemented for 2018-19 season.
The changes are set to be introduced for the start of the 2018-19 competition, which will also see the top four teams in Spain, Italy and Germany skip the qualifying rounds.
Previously of course, the fourth-placed team in these leagues would have had to negotiate their way through a two-legged qualifier before gaining access into the group phases.
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.
It is a change that sees 26 European teams, compared to the 22 of the old format, qualify directly into the Champions League group stages based on their league performance. This includes the winners of the Champions League and Europa League the season before, with six qualifying positions up for grabs.
THE KEY CHANGES
– 26 teams (rather than 22) now gain direct entry into group stages, which includes competition winners.
– Only six qualifying spots in the group stages are up for grabs, rather than 10.
– A new preliminary round has been added to the qualifying phase.
– The competition will run on staggered match times, similar to the Europa League.
Find the details for the new format changes via UEFA’s official website.
In a further announcement, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has insisted there will be no use of VAR next season.
‘Fans see the VAR screen all the time but nobody knows how it works,’ he said. ‘We will not use it in the Champions League next season. For me, it might be a good project but we shouldn’t rush it.’