Home News Champions League draw to be decided by computers for new 36-team format

Champions League draw to be decided by computers for new 36-team format


Liverpool will likely have to wait until the final handful of league matches to confirm their Champions League status for next season, where their opponents will be decided by computers.

Jurgen Klopp may not be leading Liverpool’s next Champions League campaign, but he is to ensure the next manager is left with the best chance of an assault at the top table of European football.

But the tournament is not going to be the same as it was the last time the Reds made an appearance, with a new 36-team competition coming into play from next season.

There will be four groups of nine making up the league phase, clubs will play each other once – four at home, and four away – with the final standings determining the knockout stages.

The top eight teams across the ‘league’ will progress to the last 16, and a playoff round with the next-best 16 placed sides will take place to see who faces off against them.

Champions League draw general European Cup (Handout by UEFA)

As you can tell, it is a lot more complex than the current competition, and with so many clubs and stipulations as to who can play who, the draw will be almost completely computerised.

As per ESPN, UEFA say a manual draw – which we have seen every season – would take up to four hours and require up to 900 balls due to the complexity of possible scenarios.

Almost as long as they drag out the current draws, then!

Like the existing pot format, clubs will be ordered by their UEFA ranking, and it has been decided that only the selection of the initial team from pot one will conducted manually.

The rest will then be allocated by computer, which will, no doubt, lead to plenty of conspiracies and corruption talk – which is completely understandable with trust at an all-time low.

UEFA insist their computer systems are robust and secure, and that it will be audited by accountancy firm Ernst and Young to ensure they are fair.

The draws will be broadcast live, as normal, and the knockout rounds will be decided by a bracket, meaning clubs will know their possible route to the final once the round of 16 draw is completed.

The new Champions League format is a lot like the proposed and subsequently rejected Super League, and there will be plenty of scrutiny as UEFA aim to deliver a competition that has fewer ‘meaningless’ matches.

In the new format, a team could play a potential 17 games on the way to the final. In the current format, the maximum number of matches is 13 – exactly what the calendar needs, more games!