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UEFA change seeding format for the Champions League

Will go into play starting next season.

Lars Baron

UEFA's current seeding system with the infamous 'coefficient' coming into play has come under fire in recent years. In the current format, the seeding is based on results of clubs competing in the five previous seasons of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. Thus a team like Juventus, that had two seventh-placed finishes and were out of Europe in two of those five years are at a disadvantage and have found themselves seeded lower than their billing as one of the top clubs on the continent.

Beginning next season, Pot One will contain the names of the champions of the top seven leagues in Europe, as well as the winners of this season's Champions League. Per the current UEFA coefficients, these seven nations are - Spain, England, Germany, Italy Portugal, France and Russia.

If this rule change had come in time for the draw for this season's competition, the eight seeded teams would have been Atletico Madrid, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain and CSKA Moscow, along with champions Real Madrid. Pot One in this season's tournament is a little lop-sided, with the eight teams coming from four countries instead - Atletico, Real and Barcelona represent Spain, Chelsea and Arsenal from England, Benfica and Porto from Portugal and Bayern from Germany.

The change in format had come up for discussion during the UEFA Elite Club Coaches Forum last month, with the biggest complaint being that the teams in Pot One were getting repetitive, and some glaring examples like Arsenal who always found themselves seeded first despite not having won the English title a decade ago.

"While not finalized as yet, the proposal will be ratified later on by the executive committee. It's a clear recommendation of the club competition's committee that the seeding system changes in this respect as from next season,"

"The Champions League winners are number one and the seven next placed in Pot One are not the seven best ranked in the co-efficient but are the seven champions of the seven top-ranked nations in UEFA.

"This will give another dynamic with the draw and in the way the groups are composed. It will be approved with the regulations at the start of next year.

"The club committee felt that there should be somehow an additional award given to the winners of the different national competitions.

"It was maybe a bit difficult to understand especially in the last few years where the winner of the national league was not necessarily the best-ranked club.

"It happened in France and it happened in England, people had difficulties in understanding how the champion of a country is in a lower pot than the third ranked in that country.

"Football is about winning, it's about competition it's about sporting merit. I think it's kind of a natural thing to give to those who have won a competition a special treatment like this."

- UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino