No more 7.45pm Champions League starts next season

Staggered kick-off times introduced, four English teams qualify direct

 Champions League matches will no longer be at 7.45pm, starting next season. Photograph: Getty Images)

Champions League matches will no longer be at 7.45pm, starting next season. Photograph: Getty Images)

 

As of next season, Uefa have announced staggered kick-off times for the Champions League and Europa League, doing away with the traditional 7.45pm slot.

Starting with the 2018/19 season, matches will begin at either 5.55pm or 8pm. Much the same as how the Europa League already functions.

In other changes announced on Tuesday, 26 teams now gain direct entry to the Champions League group stage – including the current holders and the Europa League winners – with six qualifying places available. Among those given direct passage to the group stages are the top four in the Premier League, along with the top four in Spain, Germany and Italy. From those four leagues, the fifth and sixth placed teams will also be guaranteed a spot in the Europa League group stages.

Every team eliminated from the Champions League qualifying will now get a second chance in the Europa League - with 10 places in the group stages available for such. A further 21 teams can qualify via the normal route, while 17 go straight into the group stages. These changes are good news for the Irish teams, who up to now have had to win a game in Champions League qualifying in order to go into Europa League qualifying after a defeat.

There will be also be a preliminary round introduced at the start of Champions League (played as a knockout mini-tournament with four teams). One team will emerge from that and enter the first round of qualifiers. An Europa League preliminary round will include 16 teams playing in two-legged ties with eight winners progressing.

Beyond the group stages, the format of the two competitions remain as is.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.