Soccer-More teams to qualify directly for reshaped Women's Champions League - UEFA

Soccer Football - Euro 2028 & Euro 2032 Hosts Announcement - Nyon, Switzerland - October 10, 2023 The UEFA logo is pictured at the headquarters ahead of the announcement REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

(Reuters) - More teams will qualify directly for the reshaped Women's Champions League group stage from the 2025-26 season, UEFA said on Monday, while the new women's second-tier European club competition will be a straight knockout format.

UEFA announced a new format for the Women's Champions League group stage on Saturday, along with the creation of a second European competition for women's clubs, following their Executive Committee's meeting.

The current format of the Women's Champions League has sparked criticism in recent months as only four teams qualify directly for a 16-team group stage.

From the 2025-26 season, where 18 teams will compete in a league phase followed by knock-out rounds instead, more teams will also be granted a direct qualification.

In addition to the previous season's Champions League winner, and the domestic champions of the three top-ranked national associations, the champions of associations ranked from fourth to sixth will access the league stage directly, UEFA said.

The runners-up of the two top-ranked associations will also be guaranteed a direct participation.

"The reformed access list, while guaranteeing participation in the league stage for an increased number of teams will also mean that eight teams play two fewer qualifying matches," the statement added.

The revision of the women's competition follows similar changes to UEFA's men's club competitions, which will feature the new single-league system from the 2024-25 campaign onwards.

"UEFA has placed huge importance on developing women's football in recent years, making enormous strides thanks to a dedicated strategy, solid investment and a passion to ensure the game is open to everybody," said UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin.

"The new UEFA Women's Champions League format and the introduction of a second competition (will) allow more players and clubs across the continent to dream of European glory."

The second competition will feature a total of six rounds -- Rounds 1, 2 and the last 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final, played over two legs.

The Women's Champions League, which began as the Women's Cup in the 2001-02 season, featured a two-legged final from 2002-03 until 2008-09.

(Reporting by Anita Kobylinska in Gdansk)

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

Next In Football

Soccer-Spain women's team beat Netherlands to secure historic Olympic spot
Soccer-Barcelona have not given up hope of winning successive LaLiga titles, says coach Xavi
Soccer-Leverkusen beat Mainz 2-1 to widen gap at top and set unbeaten record
Soccer-Valencia match postponed after deadly city fire
Soccer-West Ham boss Moyes says he's been offered new contract
Stanley wants to get KL’s finances in order before announcing team plans
Morales out to roar loud and soar high down south
City to stay clean
Soccer-New Palace manager Glasner warns fans not to expect magic transformation
Soccer-De Bruyne expected to play at Bournemouth as City look to keep pressure on Liverpool

Others Also Read