Women’s Football: Revamped Women’s Champions League could see less British teams qualify

Scotland v Jamaica - Women's International Friendly

More entrants, more exposure and more revenue, a revamped Women’s Champions League can only be a good thing, can’t it?

In a bid to replicate the successful format of the men’s competition, Uefa has announced a new and improved structure which aims to ensure the bigger clubs compete against one another more frequently. 

At present, some of the world’s biggest and most successful sides, including Barcelona, Lyon and Arsenal, all qualify automatically for the knockout stages thanks to byes. Added to this, only the final is marketed by Uefa themselves, meaning a lack of sponsorship and lack of awareness for some of the tournament’s most crucial ties.

The new format will therefore 74 teams qualify initially before knockout matches will determine a 16 team group stage. The top six leagues will have three entrants each, whilst those ranked between seventh and sixteenth will have two.

With the Scottish Women’s Premier League now ranked 15th in Europe, the prospect of having multiple British teams qualify for the group-stages now becomes increasingly harder. Their top two teams would compete against 60 other teams, divided up into four-team groups, with the winners then still facing a two-legged playoff to claim one of the coveted 16 spaces.

Whilst this new format will make it undeniably harder for Scottish teams especially, the success of Glasgow City this year has given Scotland Captain Rachel Corsie hope for the future. Glasgow is still in this year’s competition, where they will meet Wolfsburg in the quarter-finals in March and April. 

Scotland v Jamaica - Women's International Friendly

"The group stage mirroring the men's game - that's the type of framework that will probably be more interesting from a player's perspective, said Corsie.

"It possibly makes it more challenging, but that's what you want. Something that is more challenging shouldn't be looked at as a negative thing, it should be looked like something that we can strive for.”

With TV rights set to centralised from the group stage onwards and some matches scheduled for days where no other major competition will be taking place, the Women’s Champions League is likely to help clubs push themselves to the next level and give women’s football the boost it needs.

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