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Format & Regulations

Action from the 2015 final in Nyon
Action from the 2015 final in Nyon ©Getty Images

The UEFA Youth League involves the Under-19 teams of the 32 UEFA Champions League entrants, joined by the youth domestic champions of 32 nations.

The below is the standard competition format

Entrants
The competition is open to the following 64 teams:
a) The 32 youth teams of the clubs which qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League – UEFA Champions League path.

b) The domestic youth champions of the 32 best-ranked associations in the UEFA association coefficient rankings (the same rankings used to decide access to the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League) – Domestic Champions path.

• If a team is eligible for both, they enter the UEFA Champions League path.

• If there is a vacancy in the UEFA Champions League path, replacement criteria will be defined by the UEFA administration.

• A vacancy in the domestic champions path (including if a club is instead eligible for the UEFA Champions League path) is, in principle, filled by the domestic youth champion of the next best-ranked association.

UEFA Champions League path
The 32 clubs entering via the UEFA Champions League will compete in groups with the identical make-up and fixture list as for the senior competition. The eight group winners will progress straight to the round of 16 while the eight runners-up will go into the play-offs.

Domestic Champions path
The 32 teams will compete in two knockout rounds of home-and-away ties to produce eight survivors, who will progress to the play-offs.

Play-offs
The eight Domestic Champions path survivors will be drawn at home to the eight UEFA Champions League path runners-up in one-off ties to decide the eight remaining round of 16 berths.

Knockout phase and final
The knockout phase, starting with the round of 16, will consist of single-leg ties. This means a maximum of ten matches for any team, with the semi-finals and final played in the form of a final tournament at the Colovray stadium, Nyon, Switzerland. There will be no third-place play-off game.

More information can be seen in the competition's official regulations.