The ECA Board yesterday gave its wholehearted endorsement to UEFA's transformation of the women’s club competitions in Europe from 2025/26 season, following the announcement of a new format of the UEFA Women’s Champions League and the introduction of a second women’s European club competition.
This landmark evolution of the women’s competition landscape, which is a key pillar of ECA’s Be a Changemaker strategy in its work with UEFA and ECA's members, will provide even more clubs with access to the European stage and serve as a vital development tool for the women’s game.
The UEFA Women’s Champions League’s 16-team Group Stage will evolve into an 18-team single-league format, with teams playing three home and three away matches before progressing to a knockout round, with a view to enhancing competitive balance.
A 44-team second women’s club competition which is to be played in a straight knockout format will also be added to the calendar from the 2025/26 season. Whilst providing a second chance to some of the clubs eliminated from the early rounds of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, crucially, this competition will also provide a route to Europe for new clubs, too.
These exciting reforms, which were approved by the UEFA Executive Committee at its meeting in Hamburg, Germany on Saturday 2 December, are a result of an extensive period of consultation, collaboration and analysis carried out between ECA and UEFA, plus other stakeholders including ECA member clubs, leagues and national associations.
Commenting on the decisions, ECA Chairman Nasser Al-Khelaïfi said: "I am delighted that the UEFA Executive Committee has approved the reforms to the UEFA Women’s Champions League and the introduction of a second competition. This is another significant step forward for women’s clubs who now have a greater opportunity to experience European football. The rapid development of the women’s competition landscape is testament to the strong partnership and collaborative efforts of both ECA and UEFA.”
ECA Head of Women’s Football, Claire Bloomfield said: “This is a truly landmark moment for women’s club football in Europe. When we launched the Be a Changemaker strategy in March 2021, we made a commitment to boost the opportunities for clubs to realise European ambitions through the development of the competition landscape. I am proud that after several months of hard work and close collaboration with UEFA, we can now announce it’s yet another ambitious goal we have delivered on.”