UEFA Champions League [Everything about UCL]

UEFA Champions League [Everything about UCL]
Posted At: March 26, 2023 2:38 PMViews: 107Category: Sports

What is UEFA Champions League?

The Union of European Football Association is referred to as UEFA.

The UEFA Champions League is a football competition organized by UEFA every year.

It is Europe's highest club tournament, in which the best teams from Europe's major divisions play against one another. Each event is expected to attract over one billion television viewers.

Materazzi and Rui Costa during UCL Milan derby 2005
One of the most iconic image during Milan derby, 2005
Barcelona players celebrating after UCL triumph, 2011
Barcelona players celebrating after UCL triumph, 2011

When did the Champions League start?

The Champions League began in 1992, while its forerunner, the European Cup, began in 1955.

According to UEFA, the Champions League name change is only a rebranding, since the league began in 1955.

European Cup Vs Champions League

The European Cup featured just 16 teams participating in four elimination rounds (first round, quarterfinal, semifinal, and final).

Champions League has 36 teams competing in four knockout rounds (round of 16, quarterfinal, semifinal, and final).

Screamer Alert: New rules of UEFA Champions League


UEFA will impose new rules beginning in the 2024/2025 season, including:

  • Instead of 32 clubs, the league will be comprised of 36.
  • There will be no more group stages.
  • All competing clubs are included in a single league phase.
  • Each club will play eight games.
  • The two best-performing nations from the previous season will be awarded two spots.

The Champions League's structure [ As of 2021/2022]

Qualifying begins in the summer with three rounds, followed by a play-off, before the group stage begins in September with 32 teams.

The group stage consists of nine groups of four teams, with each club facing off against the other clubs in its group at home and away.

The top two teams in each group advance to the round of 16, where the knockout phase begins, while the third-placed club is relegated to the UEFA Europa League.

The round of 16, quarter-finals, and semi-finals are contested over two legs, home and away, while the final is held at a venue that is chosen about two years in advance.

champions league structure
UCL 2021/22 season knockout phase structure.

New Structure [ 2024/2025 onwards]

Rather than being divided into eight groups of four as it is currently, all clubs will be grouped into one large table based on points and then goal differential will be evaluated.

It is based on the Swiss-system chess competition.

It has already been implemented in football in various large-scale events, such as the CONCACAF Nations League qualification tournament, where all teams play four matches but the results are fed into a single 34-nation league.

What criteria are used to choose teams?

The number of clubs each association enters in the UEFA Champions League is determined by the member associations of UEFA coefficients.

The results of teams representing each association throughout the last five UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League seasons are used to calculate these scores.

Because their clubs have been successful in the Champions League over the last six seasons, the top four teams from England, Spain, Germany, and Italy automatically qualify for the group stage.

France has less, and countries like Andorra and Estonia just have one, and they are in the qualifying stages.

Estonia will be given more places if a club from Estonia wins several Champions Leagues in a row.

Ronaldo's brilliant overhead goal during 2017 final vs Juventus
Cristiano Ronaldo's stunning overhead goal during 2017 final vs Juventus 
Ole Gunner Solskjaer celebrating after winning goal in dying minutes in 1999 final vs FC Bayern Munich
Ole Gunner Solskjaer celebrating after winning goal in dying minutes in 1999 final vs FC Bayern Munich

For clubs who do not obtain direct entrance to the competition, the UEFA Champions League has offered two "streams" of qualifying since the 2009-10 season.

The two streams are separated into teams that qualified as domestic league champions and teams that qualified as second through fourth in their domestic league.

Each qualifying stream earns five teams a spot.

How four more teams will be added from 2024/2025?

  • The league's third-placed club, the classified fifth by UEFA, will advance directly to the group stage.
  • An additional club qualifies through the "Champions Path," which includes leagues rated outside of the top 10 in the UEFA Country Coefficient.
  • The two countries having the greatest coefficient scores in the current season will be rewarded two spots.

How will teams advance to knockout rounds from 2024/2025 season onwards?

The top eight teams will advance through to the round of 16 and be placed in the draw.

Clubs from 9th to 24th position will compete in two-legged playoffs, with the winners advancing as unseeded teams and the losers being eliminated.

From 2024-25, there will be no dropdown of clubs into the Europa League knockout rounds.

The clubs placed from 25th to 36th will be automatically removed from Europe.

The competition then returns to its traditional format from round 16 onwards.

Champions League unique rules


Card elimination

This rule gets applicable in the knockout phase.

For instance, if a player receives a yellow card in the quarterfinals, then, it will be erased in the next round.

Simultaneous kickoff

UEFA makes every effort to start all matches at the same time in all rounds, with the exception of matches playing in locations with vastly different time zones, such as Russia.

The UCL anthem

Perhaps the most important reason is that the mood at the outset of every match is always charged up.

This renowned song is always played at the beginning and finish of the broadcast, as well as soon before kickoff, and it is similar to playing national anthems.

It has the potential to give you chills.

Penalty Shootout

Prior to the 2020/2021 season, if both clubs had the same aggregate goals after playing both home and away games, the team with the most away goals was proclaimed the winner.

However, starting in the 2021/2022 season, if the aggregate goals after home and away games are equal, a penalty shootout will be held.

Do you believe UEFA made a decent decision here?

Champions League prize pool

This prize pool is as of now the 2021/2022 season.

Simply qualifying for the group stage may earn clubs €15.64 million, but that is only the beginning.

Each victory in the group stage is worth €2.8 million, for a total of €16.8 million on the line across the six games.

Then throw in a €9.9 million incentive for any club that finishes in the top two spots in their four-team group to advance to the final 16.

Each round accumulates prize money. The €9.9 million a team receives for reaching the last 16 is not compensated by the €10.6 million they receive for reaching the quarter-finals.

They've been combined.

Stages Prize
First qualifying round €300,000
Second qualifying round €400,000
Play-off round for losers €3,000,000
Play-off round for winners €2,000,000
Group stage base fee €15,640,000
Winning a group stage match. €2,800,000
Group stage match draw €930,000
Round of 16 €9,900,000
Quarter Final €10,600,000
Semi Final €12,500,000
Runner up €15,500,000
Champion €20,000,000

In addition to these amounts, clubs can receive additional money through broadcast arrangements depending on how far they advance in the competition.

The champion of the Champions League can expect to earn more than €85 million in total, including TV fees and prize money.

Additional information:

There is another cup game held by UEFA which is known as the UEFA Super Cup, where the champions of the Champions League and the winner of the Europa League compete against each other.

Just qualifying for the competition will earn clubs €3.5 million ($4 million).

The winning team receives an additional €1 million ($1.1 million) at the end of the tournament.

Schedule for the UEFA Champions League

Stages Month
Qualification June - August
Group-Stage Draw Late August
Group Stage Matchdays September through December
Draw for the Round of 16 December
Round of 16 February - March
Quarterfinals and Semifinals Draw Late March
Quarterfinals April
Semifinals  Late April and early May
Final End of May/Beginning of June

Top teams from the top 5 European leagues that have never won the UEFA Champions League

England - Arsenal, Manchester City

Spain - Atletico Madrid, ValenciaSevilla

Italy - NapoliFiorentina, Lazio, AS Roma

Germany - Schalke, Wolfsburg, Werder Bremen (they were a reckoned force once)

France - Lyon, PSG, Lille

Sajjan Wagle

Author : Sajjan Wagle