New single-league format to replace group stage in UEFA Women’s Champions League and second competition to offer more chances to play in Europe from 2025/26 season onwards.
Article top media content
On 2 December, the UEFA Executive Committee approved the post-2025 sporting concept for European women’s club football and with this a new format for the UEFA Women's Champions League, as well as the introduction of a second European women’s club competition.
The announcement follows extensive consultation and collaboration with the European Club Association (ECA), national associations, leagues and competing clubs and is based on the analysis and recommendations of the UEFA Women's Football Committee.
Both competitions have been developed with the aim of increasing competitiveness and maximising participation while also considering calendar constraints and player load. Qualification for both competitions will continue to be open and earned through a team’s performance in their domestic league.
The new format will launch from the beginning of the 2025/26 season, introducing – similar to UEFA’s new-look men’s club competitions – a more competitive and dynamic single-league stage in which every match counts and featuring 18 teams, two more than in the current group stage format.
The format change means that, without increasing the number of matches at this stage, top teams will go head-to-head more often and earlier, with all teams experiencing more competitive matches and a wide variety of opponents.
For the first time, UEFA will also organise a second women's club competition in a straight knockout format. This means even more teams can test themselves against European opposition and some teams who are eliminated in the early rounds of the Women’s Champions League will receive a second chance to play in a continental competition.
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said: "UEFA has placed huge importance on developing women's football in recent years, making enormous strides thanks to a dedicated strategy, solid investment and a passion to ensure the game is open to everybody. The new UEFA Women's Champions League format and the introduction of a second competition are further demonstration of this commitment and both will be exciting, competitive competitions that allow more players and clubs across the continent to dream of European glory.”
Nadine Kessler, UEFA managing director of women’s football, said: “Despite the success story of the UEFA Women’s Champions League in recent years, we will not stand still. Today, we look forward to another fundamental milestone for the professionalisation of European club football. The new format for the UEFA Women's Champions League will reinforce the competition’s position at the pinnacle of club football and combined with the introduction of the new second competition, will further incentivise growth domestically and help us to build a strong and open European football pyramid that everyone can be proud of.”
More details on the new UEFA Women’s Champions League format and the new second competition can be found in this explainer article.