UEFA club competition format from 2018: Q&A

There will be a new qualifying system for UEFA club competitions from 2018 but the format of both will remain the same. Our Q&A explains all.

The new format was launched today in Monaco
The new format was launched today in Monaco ©Getty Images

What are the main changes to UEFA's club competitions for the 2018–21 cycle?

This is an evolution not a revolution.

The main changes are in three areas: access list, club coefficient and revenue distribution

Access List

  • Retention of the Champions and League routes of qualifying in the UEFA Champions League ensures that clubs from all associations can enter through their domestic leagues and qualify for both competitions
  • The UEFA Europa League winners will automatically qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage (currently they can potentially play in a play-off)
  • The top four clubs from the four top-ranked national associations will now qualify automatically for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League
  • The full details of the access list for both competitions will be finalised by the end of the year

Club coefficient system

  • A new system for the club coefficients: clubs are judged on their own records (deletion of the country share for individual club coefficient unless that coefficient is lower than 20% of the association's coefficient).
  • Historical success in the competition will also be acknowledged in coefficient calculation (points for previous European titles with a weighted system for UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League titles)

Financial distribution

  • Financial contributions to clubs and leagues will be increased significantly for both competitions
  • A new four-pillar financial distribution system (starting fee, performance in the competition, individual club coefficient and market pool) will see sporting performances better rewarded, while market pool share will decrease.

Who was involved in the decision to make these changes?

The amendments are the result of a wide-ranging consultative process involving all European football stakeholders and taking into account a wide range of expertise and perspectives.

European football remains united behind the concepts of solidarity, fair competition, fair distribution and good governance.

UEFA, the clubs, the leagues and the national associations speak with one voice on these matters and we are looking forward to continuing our fruitful relationship

Will all countries still have a chance of having their champions in the UEFA Champions League?

Absolutely. The rights of all associations and their clubs to compete in Europe's elite club competition have been retained. We have maintained the champions' path and league path qualification process meaning that smaller clubs and countries can still participate in the group stage of the competition.

The new format will only see bigger clubs from bigger countries getting richer and richer?

In fact, the new revenue distribution model guarantees an increase in payments to leagues and clubs who are knocked out in the qualifying phase. In addition, the reduction of the market pool contribution to payments means that all clubs will receive more money for sporting success and less for just being in a large television market.

Why has the club coefficient system been changed?

The new coefficient formula will add more balance to the way past performances are taken into account. The competition has a rich history and now this is properly acknowledged. Sporting success and merit are duly recognised in the new coefficient system.

There are no details yet on how the other 16 spots in the UEFA Champions League group stage will be allocated. How can you guarantee that the other associations will all have a chance to get a place?

Nothing has changed for the overwhelming majority of the other participating associations, who all still have an opportunity to have their clubs qualifying for the group stage. There is a qualifying system which allows all clubs, no matter how big or small, to dream about playing in the best club competition in the world. We have not changed this. It is an open competition, inclusive, and for all.

Will an association be able to have six teams in the UEFA Champions League group stage?

The number of teams per association is capped at five and any change will be determined in due course.

Is anything else changing?

There will now be staggered kick-offs in the UEFA Champions League as per the UEFA Europa League.

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