Barcelona qualifies for the quarter-finals of the Champions League

“The revised version of the Champions League will feature a tennis-style classification system in the round of 16,” European Football Association (UEFA) said on Tuesday, as it revealed details of changes to the elite club competition.

The lottery system will become semi-automated, instead of the manual lottery system, which has become a feature of the competition.

The competition will expand next season from 32 to 36 clubs, with the current group stage, which includes six groups each containing four teams, being replaced with one group, in which the clubs will play eight matches against different competitors.

The top 8 teams will qualify directly to the round of 16, while teams from ninth to 24th place will compete to determine the remaining finalists.

Unlike the current open draw for the Round of 16, the clubs will be ranked in a draw similar to the tennis draw, depending on the teams’ performance in the group stage.

This means that the first and second seeds cannot meet until the final match, and they cannot play the third and fourth ranked teams, until the semi-finals at the earliest.

This is the first change to the Champions League since the 16-team knockout stage replaced the second group stage in the 2003-04 season.

“The new format will make the competition more unpredictable, guarantee more matches between big clubs and reduce prior expectations,” UEFA Deputy Secretary General and Director of Football, Giorgio Marchetti, said in a press conference on Tuesday.

The 36 clubs will be divided into 4 pots, each with nine teams, and each team will face two teams from each other pot. The final round of group stage matches will include 16 matches starting simultaneously.

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