Next year’s UEFA Champions League competition is set to get an overhaul in the way teams are seeded ahead of the group stage draw, UEFA confirmed on Wednesday.
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It had been long rumored that the European confederation would change the process by which it seeds the top eight teams at the head of each group. Beginning with the 2015-16 tournament, the eight seeds will be handed to the previous year’s Champions League winner and the reigning champions of the top seven remaining countries.
As is currently the case, the top eight seeds are determined by each club’s UEFA coefficient ranking, which takes into account a club’s performance in European competition over five seasons. For instance, Arsenal, who haven’t made the quarterfinal round since 2010, continuously garner a seeded place — and thus, a more favorable draw — despite finishing 3rd or 4th in the Premier League every season since 2005-06.
On current standings, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Porto would be the biggest names drop in status for the Aug. 27, 2015 draw. Real Madrid also stand to drop down from a seeded position if Barcelona go on to win the Champions League and La Liga titles this season.
In the event that the reigning CL winners are also one of the seven reigning domestic league winners, the eighth seeded place would then go to the eighth-ranked league in Europe, the Netherlands’ Eredivisie.