Champions League rule changes will affect Arsenal next season and how the new UEFA format works

Arsenal will compete in the Champions League under a completely new format, which UEFA implemented for the 2024–2025 season.

Champions League rule changes will affect Arsenal next season and how the new UEFA format works

Arsenal will be in pot 2 of the Champions League next season regardless of whether they win the league (Image: Kristian Skeie – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

In an attempt to conquer the demons of this season, Arsenal will participate in the Champions League once more next season. Old rivals Bayern Munich eliminated the Gunners in the quarterfinals, so it’s safe to assume they’ll want to stay away from the German powerhouses at all costs.

After going trophyless in the previous two seasons, Mikel Arteta and his team, who finished second in the Premier League for the second year in a row, will be looking to take home some hardware. Even though it’s not the simplest path to a trophy, the Champions League is the biggest.

Supporters will need some time to get used to the new format for this season’s tournament, though. The eight groups of four teams in which the top two teams advanced to the round of sixteen has been replaced.

These days, there are 36 teams competing in a single, large league, with spots switching hands each gameweek. Here, examines the new structure and a significant proposed rule change that may have a significant effect on teams’ ability to advance to the knockout stages.

In what ways is the format evolving?

The Champions League will consist of 36 teams instead of the current 32 starting in the 2024–2025 season. A ‘Champions League phase’ will take place in lieu of group stages, with all 36 clubs competing in a single league.

In this phase, each team will play eight games against eight different opponents. The three teams they currently play against will not be matched twice. These four games will be played at home and four away.

To determine the eight opponents, the teams will first be divided into four seeding pots. Next, each team will play two matches—one at home and one away—against opponents from each pot.

How will teams earn a spot in the knockout stages?
The top eight teams in the league phase will automatically advance to the round of 16, following each team’s eight games. The teams that place ninth through twenty-fourth will advance to a two-leg play-off phase, where the winners will join the other eight clubs in the round of sixteen.

You are eliminated and won’t have the opportunity to qualify for the Europa League if you place 25th or lower. In the round of 16, the eight teams that make it through the playoffs will play one of the eight automatic qualifiers.

After that, the knockout phase will resume as it is now.

Have any rules changed recently?
There won’t be a change in the use of automated offsides, as it was in the 2023–2024 campaign, and standard VAR will also be implemented. As previously stated, the eight teams with the lowest ranking and those that are eliminated in the play-offs will not be automatically qualified for the Europa League.

On the last day of the league format, the significant rule modification will take effect. There are reports that UEFA plans to enforce all fixtures being played at the same time in order to preserve the competition’s integrity.

This implies that the group matches’ last round will happen on the same day. With all 36 clubs competing against one another in a single league table, UEFA is implementing the so-called Swiss system for the competition. As a result, all final games will start at the same time to guarantee that no team has an advantage.

The schedule will alter as more teams are added. In the past, the competition took a winter break, with the group stages concluding in December and the knockout stages commencing in February. But league play will go on into January, with eight games for every team.

And what about winnings?

More money is up for grabs in an expanded competition. Previously, teams would have to pay £13.4 million to qualify for the Champions League. It is currently valued at £15.9 million, and there is still money to be made from victories and draws during the competition.

Winning the competition will bring in £70.2 million, not including earnings from individual league stage results and the broadcast share. The winners of 2023–2024 will receive £58.5 million in addition to prizes for victories and draws during the group stage.

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