All You Need To Know About The Recent Decisions Made By The UEFA Executive Committee

The UEFA Executive Committee met on June 28 at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland, and made a number of decisions regarding the UEFA Women’s Champions League final that will take place in Lisbon in 2025. These are the decisions:

In 2025, the UEFA Women’s Champions League Final will be held in Lisbon at the Estádio José Alvalade, where Sporting Clube de Portugal plays.

The Agia Sofia Stadium in Athens (AEK Athens FC) and Stadion Wrocaw (WKS lsk Wrocaw) were selected by the Executive Committee to host the UEFA Europa Conference League finals in 2024 and 2025, respectively.

Regarding the Athens venue, UEFA will provide expertise and an observation period until November 2023 for matches played by AEK Athens in the UEFA club competition for which they will qualify, as well as the Greek national team in EURO 2024 qualifiers, as the stadium is new and has not yet hosted international club football.

This has been added as a requirement for the appointment to be confirmed in December 2023.

Poland has also been chosen to host the UEFA European Women’s Under-19 Championship in 2025. The Executive Committee chose Poland to host the tournament.

Format of European Qualifiers for the 2026 FIFA World Cup UEFA will suggest the following format to FIFA for the 16 European teams qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

There will be two stages to the European qualification process for the World Cup: stage for groups and playoffs.

The group stage comprises of the customary association configuration of home and away matches and is played in 12 groups of 4 or 5 groups between Spring and November 2025. The 12 group winners automatically advance to the FIFA World Cup in 2026.

The 12 group runners-up shall participate in the play-offs which will be played in March 2026. In addition to those 12 sides, the best-ranked four group winners of the 2024/25 UEFA Nations League that have not finished their European Qualifiers group stage in first or second place will make up the 16-team play-offs.

The play-off matches will be played in single-leg semi-finals followed by single-leg finals within the same international match window. The 16 teams entering the play-offs will be drawn into four play-off paths of four teams each.

UEFA EURO 2024 Draws:

The procedures for the play-off draw and the final draw of UEFA EURO 2024 were approved.

New UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Sustainability Regulations – Edition 2023

The UEFA Executive Committee endorsed a few important amendments to the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Sustainability Regulations which will come into force on 1 July 2023.

The new regulations define the accounting treatment to be followed on the amortisation of player’s registration and in case of player exchange transactions (so called “swaps”).

Presented under the ‘Europa’ umbrella toward the beginning of the 2021-24 business cycle, the new competition has in no time secured itself inside a wide crowd after two effective seasons.

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The UEFA Executive Committee approved this proposed change after research among fans and commercial partners revealed that removing “Europa” from the competition’s name will allow for further development as a standalone competition. Beginning with the 2024/25 season, it will be effective in the new cycle.

The UEFA Conference League, along with the UEFA Europa League, will continue to offer “Thursday Night Football” to fans all over Europe and beyond. Both competitions will continue to be sold to broadcast partners and sponsors together, maintaining a strong relationship between them due to their close brand identities.

The UEFA Executive Committee has approved the UEFA Minimum Standards System for Women’s National Teams after conducting extensive independent research and consulting extensively with representatives of national associations, national team captains, and FIFPRO Europe.

All senior women’s national team players in all 55 national associations will have access to the same minimum standards and conditions under this innovative new initiative.

The UEFA HatTrick Program will provide incentives for the system, which includes provisions for good governance as well as sporting/technical provisions, and it will significantly contribute to strengthening the relationship between national associations and players.

In due course, the system’s specifics will be made available.

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In addition, the Standing Facilities Observers’ Programme was extended for the 2023/24 season under the same conditions by the UEFA Executive Committee, which included England, Germany, and France—three of the top five UEFA-ranked national associations where standing facilities are permitted at domestic level—to give the UEFA administration time to conduct additional research and develop guidelines.

New format for the UEFA Youth League:

The 36 youth teams of the clubs that qualify for the league phase of the 2024/25 UEFA Champions League (Champions League path) will be included in the new competition, which will follow the format change of the senior UEFA club competitions.

The Domestic Champions path will be restructured to include the domestic youth champions of all UEFA member associations (currently participation is limited to the top 32 associations of the ranking list).

If a club qualifies for both the Champions League path and the Domestic Champions path, it automatically participates in the Champions League path and the vacancy in the domestic path is filled by the runner-up of the same association.

The UEFA Youth League titleholder automatically qualifies for the Domestic Champions’ path unless the club has qualified for the Champions League path.

The league stage will mirror the UEFA Champions League ‘leagues stage’ but limited to the first six matchdays, with the same matches played in both competitions (three at home and three away).

The Domestic Champions path will consist of three rounds played under the cup (knockout) system with two-legged ties (home and away matches). The clubs of the top-ranked associations will enter in the second round.

At the end of these initial phases a single knockout phase will be played with one-leg ties starting with the round of 32. The clubs ranked 1 to 6 (Champions League path) will qualify for the round of 32 and play against the clubs ranked 17 to 22. The clubs ranked 7 to 16 will face the 10 clubs that qualify via the Domestic Champions path in the round of 32.

Clubs that are ranked 23 or lower in the Champions League path are eliminated from the competition, as are those that fail to qualify to the domestic champions path knockout stages. The competition will close with a final four (semi-finals and last) played at a neutral venue.

For the round of 16, the quarter-finals and semi-finals, the pairings will be determined by means of a draw.

The next meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee is scheduled for 26 September 2023 in Limassol, Cyprus.

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