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UEFA to revamp Women’s Champions League, create second-tier European competition

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The Women’s Champions League will undergo a significant reshaping of its group stage from the 2025-26 season while a second-tier competition will be launched, UEFA said on Saturday as it announced sweeping changes to European women’s football.

The decisions were agreed at UEFA’s Executive Committee’s meeting in Hamburg, Germany.

“The UEFA Executive Committee approved a new format for the UEFA Women’s Champions League, consisting of an 18-team league phase with three home and three away matches followed by knock-out rounds,” UEFA said in a statement.

Europe’s football governing body added that its Executive Committee had also approved “the creation of a second European competition for women’s clubs, with the changes becoming effective as of the 2025/26 season.”

UEFA said it would provide further details about the competitions on December 4.

The format of the Women’s Champions League has attracted criticism in recent months.

In its current format, the Women’s Champions League features a 16-team group stage, for which only four teams qualify directly by winning their respective domestic leagues.

The remaining teams compete in a play-off system to qualify for the group stage, which often leads to early exits for Europe’s biggest sides, with Arsenal and Wolfsburg suffering that fate this season.

PRIZE MONEY

UEFA also announced the prize money for next year’s men’s European Championships in Germany, in which the winner will collect an extra payout of eight million euros ($8.70 million) on top of its participation fee of 9.25 million euros.

Teams will also receive a match bonus of one million euros for wins and 500,000 euros for draws. There will be further rewards for teams that qualify for the round of 16, quarterfinals and semifinals.

“The amount for distribution to the participating teams is confirmed at the same level as for Euro 2020, i.e. a total of 331 million euros,” UEFA said.

“The maximum amount that the champion team may achieve, if they will have won all three of their group matches, is 28.25 million euros.” 

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