UEFA has announced that the Champions League seeding will change next season, with the champions from the top seven European leagues going into Pot One along with the holders of the title. The top seven European leagues will be adjudged according to UEFA’s country coefficients at the end of this season.
The current top seven European leagues according to UEFA’s coefficients are as follows: Spain, England, Germany, Italy, Portugal, France and Russia. Had the regulations come into effect for the current Champions League campaign, Atletico Madrid, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain and CSKA Moscow would have all entered Pot One, alongside holders Real Madrid.
Instead, this season’s top seeds come from just four different nations: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid representing Spain, Chelsea and Arsenal representing England, Porto and Benfica representing Portugal, while Bayern Munich are Germany’s lone representative.
The existing Champions League seeding is based on the results of clubs (UEFA’s club coefficients) competing in the five previous seasons of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.
“It will be ratified later on by the executive committee but it’s a clear recommendation of the club competition’s committee that the seeding system changes in this respect as from next season,” UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said to ESPN.
This would change the current trends significantly as in the last few years the winner of the national league has not necessarily been the best-ranked club in the UEFA coefficients. There have been many instances where the champion of a country has been in a lower pot than a lower ranked club in that country.
This change could mean an end to Arsenal’s long-running appearance in Pot One of the Champions League draw if they fail to win their domestic league this season.
“Our group seems unbalanced,” Pellegrini had said last month. “In our group we have three domestic champions — the English champions, the German champions and the Russian champions. I think we need to find a modification whereby, for example, all teams who play qualification go into Pot Four and all champions and those who have lots of points in Europe [a high coefficient] go into Pot One.” This modification would be a welcome news to the Manchester City boss.
However, UEFA is yet to confirm who would take the final spot in Pot One should the winners of the Champions League also win their domestic title. It will probably be the highest club-coefficient holders amongst the remaining clubs.