Champions League: New Rules For This Season

Author: Mansi


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The remainder of the Champions League will go on according to plan with sports across the world resuming gameplay. There were quite a few rule changes that we introduced back in May 2019, before the 2019 - 2020 season was started. Along with those rule changes, there are now some more new rule changes introduced for the matches to be played after the season resumes.

Some major changes 

The rule changes will leave the League almost unrecognizable. The changes are in several categories including eligible players and length of ties. There won’t be two legs for either the quarter-finals or the semis. Instead, those will be played in a single leg. It’s one chance only for the teams, with the winner moving ahead instead of losers getting an opportunity to make it forward. The rest of the season is set to be played in Lisbon, in the Benfica and Sporting stadiums in the city. The final will also be played in Lisbon, in the Benfica stadium - the Estadio Da Luz. However, before the quarters, and semis, the last-16 leg of the tournament will be played in the home stadiums of the clubs, which leaves things as usual.

The Champions League this year will see to it that the season ends on time because of the coronavirus lockdown extending the season. The aim is to affect future seasons as little as possible. Essentially, the season will come down to an eight-team knock-out tournament which will be played in Lisbon exclusively in August. The last eight teams remaining will play the quarterfinals in a knock-out style. This means the winner progresses to the next stage and the loser is eliminated immediately. This is different from the earlier style of playing, where even the losers of matches got to play another game (i.e. two legs) and the best teams would move ahead. These knock-out games will be played within the city but in two different stadiums, spanning over 12 days.

Back in March, four teams had completed their qualification to the quarter-finals of the league. When the lockdown was imposed, there were four second-leg games that were remaining to be played to decide the other four places. These include matches at Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, and Manchester City.

Which teams are likely to make it to Lisbon?

Let’s take a look at which English teams have the chance to make it past the last-16 leg of the League. Chelsea is not in good shape, and the team needs a huge turnaround to make it to the quarters. Their most recent game ended 3-0, with their loss to Bayern Munich. The second leg will be in Germany, and Chelsea is put in a hard place due to yet another new rule that has made its way to the league. For their time in Germany, Chelsea’s plan would have been to bring on two of their new signings to play - Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech. But the new rules will only allow players who played domestically for the league before February 3 this year. This is bad news for Chelsea because some new blood would have helped them overcome the wide gap between their competitors. Their next game will be at the Allianz Arena. 

The rule, however, does allow teams to register new players. This is only and only if these players had played in their respective leagues prior to February. This could work in favor of other teams, but not Chelsea. One such team is Manchester City. They can bring back Aymeric Laporte after he was out with an injury for four months.

How does it affect the future?

This changes a lot of things for tournaments across the board this year and for the next season. The qualifying phase of the 2020 - 21 Champions League will begin on August 1, and the group stage is slated to begin on October 20 or 21, and end by December 8 or 9. The Europa League has also seen some changes in rules - an eight-team knockout tournament is the biggest change. It will be played in four of Germany’s stadiums, Cologne, Duisburg, Düsseldorf, and Gelsenkirchen. This will begin on August 10th, and the final will be played in Cologne on August 23rd. 

Before the lockdown, only six of the eight first-leg games were completed in the round of 16 matches. Now, only single games will be played for the Inter Milan - Getafe and Roma - Sevilla clashes which are remaining from months ago. The 2020 UEFA Super Cup will be played in Budapest in September, instead of the earlier planned game in Porto in August. 


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