The inaugural UEFA Women's Champions League begins next season with 53 contenders from 44 nations, and the 28 teams entering in the qualifying round will discover their groups when the draw is made on 24 June.
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The inaugural UEFA Women's Champions League begins next season with 53 contenders from 44 nations, and the 28 teams entering in the qualifying round will discover their group lineups when the draw is made on Wednesday 24 June at 11.15CET at UEFA headquarters in Nyon.
Replacing the UEFA Women's Cup, which began in 2001/02, the new competition features for the first time the eight runners-up from the top-ranked nations, all of whom will be involved in the qualifying round. The 28 teams have been split into four seedings categories based on their coefficients, with all seven groups contraining one team from each section. Seven teams have also been designated as mini-tournament hosts and will also be kept apart while being placed in groups according to their seeding: Danish runners-up Brøndby IF, Sweden's Linköpings FC, ŽNK KRKA from Slovenia, Lithuanian champions Gintra Universitetas, Croatian side WFC Osijek, ZFK Tikvesanka of FYR Macedonia and Cypriot club Apollon Limassol.
All the mini-tournaments will be played from 30 July until 4 August, with the seven group winners joining the 25 entering in the Round of 32, the list including the last UEFA Women's Cup holders FCR 2001 Duisburg and fellow former European champions Umeå IK, 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam and Arsenal LFC. Arsenal are among seven 'sister' clubs of men's UEFA Champions League entrants in the competition, alongside fellow Round of 32 entrants Olympique Lyonnais, AC Sparta Praha, AZ Alkmaar and Standard Fémina de Liège plus qualifying round hopefuls FC Bayern München and Glentoran Belfast United.
From this stage the competition will be played in two-legged knockout ties, with the draw for the Round of 32 and Round of 16 made at 12.00CET on 14 August. In another innovation, the final will be played as a one-off match two days before the men's UEFA Champions League final in the same city, with the 2009/10 decider scheduled for Thursday 20 May in Madrid. For a full season calendar and explanation of the format click here.