UEFA has confirmed changes to the Champions League, with new kick-off times and automatic entry for the top four Leagues.
It had already been proposed that from 2018 onward “the top four clubs from the four top-ranked national associations will now qualify automatically for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League”.
Today the executive committee met in Nyon, and approved the new measures in full.
In addition to the new entry system, “it was also decided to have two separate kick-off times in the UEFA Champions League, at 19.00 CET [two matches] and 21.00 CET [six matches]”.
When working out club coefficients for seeding, UEFA will use “results of the past five years to reflect the current strength of teams and will not contain bonus points for previous titles”.
However, in distributing finances, the governing body will “include bonus points for previous titles to reflect the longer-term contribution of clubs to the competition brand and success”.
That means teams will get 12 points if they’ve won the Champions League in the last five years, eight if they’ve lifted the trophy since the 1992-93 season and four for any wins before that.
Performances in the Europa League and the now-defuct Cup Winners’ Cup will also be taken into account, though will be worth less points.
Qualification for the Europa League will also become easier for champions from smaller nations as “all domestic champions eliminated in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League get a second chance in the European competitions by entering a dedicated champions’ path in UEFA Europa League qualification”