New rules for Champions League, Europa League

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UEFA announced new rules for the UEFA Champions League and Europa League competitions for next season onwards.

In a statement released on Tuesday the governing body of European soccer confirmed a fourth substitute will be available to use in extra time in both the UCL and Europa League in the 2018-19 campaign, while 12 substitutes are now allowed in the UCL, Europa League and UEFA Super Cup finals.

There will also be new kick off times in both competitions and players will no longer be cup-tied for the knockout rounds even if they played in the same competition for a different club earlier that season.

Below is a look at the rule changes in full from UEFA’s website.


• From the 2018/19 season, a fourth substitute listed on the match sheet may take part in knockout matches exclusively during extra time. This will not affect the other three substitutions.

• Exceptionally for the UEFA Champions League final, UEFA Europa League final and UEFA Super Cup, 23 players (instead of 18 players for all other matches) may be included on the match sheet. This will allow 12 substitutes (instead of seven) to sit on the bench in these finals – giving clubs and, in particular, coaches more flexibility regarding substitutes, and facilitate their squad management for the most important fixture of the season.

• New kick-off times in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League:

  • UEFA Champions League play-offs, group-stage games, round of 16 matches, quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final will kick off at 21:00CET. However, on every group-stage matchday, two of the Tuesday and two of the Wednesday matches will kick off at 18:55CET. All fixtures on the last matchday will be played simultaneously. Exceptions to this rule can be made by the UEFA administration.
  • UEFA Europa League matches from the group stage until round of 16 matches will kick off at 18:55 and 21:00CET. The kick-off times will be decided in accordance with the draw. In principle, games within a group will be played simultaneously on the last matchday. The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will all kick off at 21:00CET. Exceptions can be made by the UEFA administration.
  • Regarding the registration of players after a group stage of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, a club may register three new eligible players without any restrictions. This is in line with the existing regulatory situation in the different domestic leagues, which does not impose restrictions on the eligibility for competitions of players registered for a new club during the winter transfer window.