Every Champions League change UEFA are planning and what it means for Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs
UEFA are planning some big changes for the Champions League from 2024 onwards, in moves that have not proven particularly popular with clubs
The Champions League is the biggest annual tournament in sport but UEFA are set to introduce sweeping changes from the 2024/25 season. It will leave the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham considering what it would mean for them if they were to finish in the top four and also if they don’t.
After the attempted European Super League plans of last year, the governing body of European football appears to have moved to appease those elite clubs that attempted to break away. President Aleksander Ceferin is set to approve the move but fan groups have warned that the changes are simply the ESL “via back door”.
But how will it affect those London clubs pushing for a return to the elite competition? Chelsea look set to qualify with ease while Arsenal, Tottenham and the Hammers battle for fourth. But from 2024 onwards, it may become easier for some to book their place.
Specifically, it is Chelsea who stand to benefit most. With the number of teams in the group stage set to increase from 32 to 36, four wildcard spots will become available and be offered each year to sides who have performed historically well in the tournament.
Given the Blues have lifted the trophy twice in the last 10 years, they would stand to benefit from such a place were they to miss out on the top four in the future. However, they would only be able to claim the spot via this route if they finished fifth. But whether Arsenal, Spurs and West Ham would be deemed worthy of such a place would likely depend on which other sides around Europe missed out.
There is potential for all big-six sides to qualify for the tournament, therefore. If one were to win the Champions League but finish outside the top five, they would still qualify. If another then came fifth but were deemed to be historically successful enough, they too would qualify alongside each top-four side.
Plans are also being discussed for the FA Cup to be used as a qualifying route too. It has been reported that if a place was guaranteed for any winner of the tournament, it would be backed. But apparently, the winners will only qualify if their coefficient ranking is high enough, meaning the likes of Leicester would not have qualified as a result of last season’s triumph.