The new format (the Swiss Model)
The new champions league format will start with the kick-off of the new 2024/25 season, after being debated for a good two years the new format was approved in June of 2022. What it means is that there will be four additional teams in the league, and each team will play a minimum of four matches in the season. Clubs will no longer have fixed home and away fixtures but will play four games away and four games at home. The away goal privilege also falls away since all things will be equal so it will be three points for winning and two points for a draw irrespective of where the game is played.
With the addition of the four teams, it means there will be 189 matches played, and there will also no longer be any group stages. The top eight teams will automatically qualify for the knockout stage, and numbers 9 -24 in the rankings will battle it out for a top-16 finish. With the new change, we could see more domestic clashes as teams from the same country will be able to play each other.
Why The Change?
Many believe the change to the format was in response to the threat of a Super League, others believe it was time for a change. Another reason for the change was revenue, the more matches are played the more tickets are sold and that means revenue. Adding new teams also means tapping into a new fan base which will drive more revenue. With this format allowing domestic clashes there are chances of even bigger broadcasting deals in European countries.
Die-hard football fans are dead set against the new format even though it has been approved and there is nothing anyone can do.
Will Betting Odds Change?
Betting odds won’t change, there will be more teams for you to bet on though and the winners won’t be as clear-cut as there were before. This format will also open up new markets since now you will be able to bet on the teams fighting for the top 16 positions as well as which teams will make it to the new top four slots.
We will see the changes on most sites at the beginning of the season as well that includes the betting sites for beginners. This should be an exciting season for the bookies and punters. In this season though Real Madrid seems to be the firm favourite but don’t rule out Man City and Inter Milan just yet.
How Will it Affect The Competitive Spirit?
This new format will make the league more competitive since teams not in the league will be fighting to get in via the newly opened four slots. The scoring system to determine who gets a slot will be calculated based on the total points divided by the number of teams competing in that competition. This is a fairer and transparent points system than the previous one.
This new format opens up the Champions League to more teams and countries that were previously unable to play. Growth, sponsorship, and financial prosperity can be for everyone rather than a few selected teams. To make the competition fair the format will be adopted by the Europa League and the Europa Conference League.
This competition will create more playing time for teams since every team will play eight matches, which means coaches will be forced to rotate players and stop using the same players in every match. This will create competition within the teams and give management a chance to see phenomenal skills in other players.
The new format proposes to take the predictability out of the league, now one game will be as important as the next and as the previous. The results of one game can mean the elimination of the top 16 battling or advancing to the knockout stages.
In reality, the gulf between the rich teams and the not-so-rich teams was very wide with the current format and it made it impossible for certain teams to even make it to the knockout stages, never mind the final. There were rare moments of course like when Ajax reached the semi-finals in 2020. But in the true spirit of football, it shouldn’t be so, the game is meant to be the decider and not how much you can spend on players. Maybe this new format will right some of those wrongs and make us believe in the true spirit of football once again.
Whether or not this format will be sustainable in the long term remains to be seen but it will certainly make for an exciting 2024/25 season.