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In a press conference today, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was asked about UEFA’s plans to change the Champions League format from the 2024/25 season.

The key change in the reforms is the departure from the current group stage, which splits 32 clubs into eight pools. From the 2024/25 campaign, there will be a single league made up of 36 teams.

Each participating side will contest 10 fixtures against as many different opponents, with half of them at home and half of them away. The top eight teams will advance automatically to the round of 16 and those placed between ninth and 24th will enter a play-off round. Clubs that finish between ninth and 16th in the league will be seeded and hold home advantage in the second leg.

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The eight clubs who prevail in the play-offs will then progress to the round of 16 where they will each face one of the top-eight finishers. The competition will then continue to follow its existing format of knockout rounds leading to the final staged at a neutral venue selected by UEFA.

In addition, UEFA has already confirmed that both the Europa League and the all-new Europa Conference League will evolve in the same way, with a single league replacing the group stage.

The topic of this new Champions League format has been widely discussed this week while the 2021/22 competition got underway across Europe, with United in action against Young Boys.

During a press conference with journalists on Thursday afternoon, Solskjaer was asked about these Champions League reforms and the Reds boss appeared to be open minded about them.

“It’s quite complicated,” Ole admitted, during his digital media briefing with reporters. “I haven’t really got to grips with every single little detail but every time there is a change, there is a little bit of a resistance.

“I remember there was resistance for the Champions League. [People were asking] why do we need a Champions League? The Champions League now looks like a fantastic tournament to be in.

“Same again, it might be a change for the better, who knows? I can’t give you an opinion on how it’s going to look. I’m sure the powers that are looking at it have a good reason for it and maybe, and hopefully, it will be a better competition.”

United’s next Champions League match is against Villarreal at Old Trafford on Wednesday 29 September.

Source: manutd.com

Benedicta Okunor

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