Further changes have been confirmed to the regulations of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, and they will be applied from the start of next season.
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With UEFA's club competitions entering a new three-year-cycle starting next season, several key changes have already been announced as part of their evolution.
However, after February's UEFA Executive Committee meeting in Bratislava and the decisions taken by football's lawmakers, the International Football Association Board (IFAB), on 3 March in Zurich, more changes have been confirmed in relation to the new club competition regulations coming into effect for the 2018/19 campaign.
These changes, which will apply equally to the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Super Cup, include:
• From the 2018/19 season, a fourth substitute listed on the match sheet may take part in knockout matches exclusively during extra time. This will not affect the other three substitutions.
• Exceptionally for the UEFA Champions League final, UEFA Europa League final and UEFA Super Cup, 23 players (instead of 18 players for all other matches) may be included on the match sheet. This will allow 12 substitutes (instead of seven) to sit on the bench in these finals – giving clubs and, in particular, coaches more flexibility regarding substitutes, and facilitate their squad management for the most important fixture of the season.
• New kick-off times in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League:
- UEFA Champions League play-offs, group-stage games, round of 16 matches, quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final will kick off at 21:00CET. However, on every group-stage matchday, two of the Tuesday and two of the Wednesday matches will kick off at 18:55CET. All fixtures on the last matchday will be played simultaneously. Exceptions to this rule can be made by the UEFA administration.
- UEFA Europa League matches from the group stage until round of 16 matches will kick off at 18:55 and 21:00CET. The kick-off times will be decided in accordance with the draw. In principle, games within a group will be played simultaneously on the last matchday. The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will all kick off at 21:00CET. Exceptions can be made by the UEFA administration.
- The UEFA Super Cup will kick-off at 21:00CET. This already applies to the 2018 UEFA Super Cup which will be played on 15 August at Tallinn's Lilleküla Stadium in Estonia.
• Regarding the registration of players after a group stage of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, a club may register three new eligible players without any restrictions. This is in line with the existing regulatory situation in the different domestic leagues, which does not impose restrictions on the eligibility for competitions of players registered for a new club during the winter transfer window.
• As was already the case in the UEFA Champions League, as of the 2018/19 season, teams which have won the UEFA Europa League (or previously the UEFA Cup) three consecutive times or a minimum of five times may also wear a multiple-winner badge on the shirt sleeve. The only team entitled to wear this badge next season would be Sevilla FC, who have won the competition five times (2006, 2007, 2014, 2015, 2016).