The new Champions League format has gone down like a lead balloon with football fans.
Although UEFA unveiled their plans for the 2024/25 season at the start of the week, it's only in the aftermath of the European Super League's collapse that the details are really starting to sink in.
Besides, there are many supporters and pundits who would argue that the Champions League of the future is merely the lesser of two evils when compared to the aborted Super League.
New Champions League format
And it's easy to see why with the increase in teams and matches, revamped group stages and possible weighting towards the big clubs potentially changing the Champions League forever.
However, of all the controversies surrounding UEFA's new approach, it's the fact that their club coefficient rankings could impact who qualifies for the competition that has ruffled the most feathers.
That's because two of the four extra qualification slots - the competition is swelling from 32 teams to 36 - will go to the highest-ranked clubs that haven't qualified for the Champions League.
Extra four slots
In the words of UEFA themselves: "Slots three and four: Awarded to the two clubs with the highest club coefficients that have not qualified automatically for the Champions League’s league stage, but have qualified either for the Champions League qualification phase or the Europa League/the Europa Conference League (due to start in the 2021/22 season)."
Or to put it another way, there's potential for a Premier League season in which Arsenal and Tottenham finish sixth and seventh, but still qualify whereas the fifth-placed team if they're, say, West Ham United would not.
And while it's impossible to be certain of how the club coefficient rankings will look in 2024, fans will now be well aware that UEFA's system and how it works will be more important than ever.
UEFA's club coefficient rankings
So, yeh, you know that thing that broadly had a bearing on the group stage draw and not much else? Well, it could now decide whether your team randomly bunny-hops into the Champions League.
As a result, it felt apt to give football fans an insight into how UEFA's rankings are looking right now, so check them out down below:
For the record, the two highest-placed clubs who did not qualify for the Champions League this season are indeed Arsenal and Tottenham.
In other words, that doomsday scenario we were talking about earlier wasn't unrealistic at all because if the new format took place this season, then that's exactly what could happen.
Potential bias for the 'big clubs'
And your hearts would have to go out to West Ham fans if - despite their team finishing above both north London clubs - they missed out on the Champions League because of historical rankings.
It really does make you want to pull your hair out but thankfully, there are big names in the sport who are already taking a stand against UEFA.
Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan tweeted on Thursday night: “With all the Super League stuff going on... can we please also speak about the new Champions League format?
“More and more and more games, is no one thinking about us players? The new UCL format is just the lesser of the two evils in comparison to the Super League...”
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