UEFA has published the details of the new format of the Women's Champions League and the scheme of the second European tournament

The UEFA Executive Committee has approved a new concept for the development of European women's club football after 2025.

According to the BSWW official website Among other things, the UEFA Executive Committee approved the new format of the Women's Champions League and introduced another women's club tournament.

The new format of the women's Champions League will be effective from the 2025/2026 season. It will consist of one league stage with the participation of 18 teams. This will allow more clubs to compete in a more competitive and dynamic tournament. This format will guarantee the significance of each match. 

Reasons for changing the format of the Women's Champions League

The current format is one of the first achievements of UEFA's Women's Football Strategy, Time for Action, which from 2019 aims to grow the game in Europe by raising its standards and increasing the reach and value of the competition. After reformatting the competition in the 2021/2022 season, record attendance at stadiums and television audiences was recorded. UEFA now wants to build on this success and make the Women's Champions League even more competitive. The change in format will provide an opportunity, without increasing the number of matches at this stage, for the top teams to meet each other more often and have a wider choice of opponents.

The format of the UEFA Women's Champions League from the 2025/2026 season

Under the new format, teams will no longer play three opponents twice, home and away. Instead, they will play six different opponents in the league stage, playing half of those matches at home and half away.

To determine these six different opponents, the teams will be allocated to three baskets based on their club coefficient in the UEFA rankings. To ensure a balanced level of competition for all and a balanced calendar, each team will then play two opponents from each of those baskets, playing one match against a team from each basket at home and one away.

The results of each match will determine the team's standing in the new league: three points for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss. The new format, in which all teams are united in one league, will mean the tournament interest to play until the very last match.

The top four teams in the league will automatically advance to the quarterfinals, and the teams that sit places from 5th to 12th, will compete in a two-game head-to-head in the play-off phase to secure their way to the quarter-finals as well. Teams from 13th to 18th are eliminated.

The four clubs that win the play-off head-to-head will advance to the quarter-finals, where they will each play one of the top four seeded clubs in a quarter-final second leg at home.

Starting with the quarter-finals, the competition will follow the existing play-off format, culminating in a final on a neutral ground to be determined by UEFA.

Who will be in the new Women's Champions League and how will the format work?

Starting from the 2025/2026 season, 18 teams will compete at the league stage, which is two more than in the current group stage format. In addition to the winner of the previous season's Women's Champions League and the champions of the three highest-ranked national associations who qualify directly in the current format, the 4th to 6th-placed association champions and the runners-up of the first and second associations will also receive direct passes to the league stage.

Four more teams will join them through the Champions Pathway qualification and five through the League Pathway qualification, which will be expanded to include two new teams. That is, the second-placed team from the 17th-ranked association and the third-placed team from the seventh-ranked association. The reformed qualification guarantees participation in the league stage for more teams and means that eight teams will play two fewer qualifying matches.

Why is UEFA introducing a second women's club tournament and how will it take place?

A key goal of UEFA was to create a second tournament that would allow more clubs to compete in Europe and provide an additional incentive for investment in women's football at domestic level.

13 teams, including the third-placed teams in the national leagues of the associations ranked 8-13 and the second-placed teams in the associations ranked 18-24, will participate in this tournament automatically, plus a second chance will be given to clubs, who were eliminated in the 2nd round of the Champions League, as well as the second and third-placed teams in the 1st round.

The second tournament will be held in a direct play-off format in parallel with the Women's Champions League. In total, it will include six rounds: first, second, 1/8 finals, 1/4 finals, 1/2 finals and the final, which will be held in the format of two matches (home and away). The winner of the tournament will automatically qualify for the second round of the Women's Champions League next season.

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