Newcastle United can benefit from the new Champions League format - and here’s why

The Champions League qualification changes, set to be introduced in 2024, could benefit Newcastle United - and here’s why.

From the beginning of the 2024/25 season, the Premier League could have as many as FIVE clubs qualify for the Champions League.

In a new format approved by UEFA this week, an extra place will be awarded to each of the two countries whose teams collectively performed best in Europe the previous year.

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Interestingly, this replaces controversial plans to allow clubs, most of whom attempted - and failed - to launch a European Super League last year, to enter the competition based on historical performance in Europe have been scrapped.

If the rule changes were applied this campaign, and in four of the past five seasons, an extra place would go to clubs in England.

Speaking about the upcoming changes, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “Uefa has clearly shown that we are fully committed to respecting the fundamental values of sport and to defending the key principle of open competitions, with qualification based on sporting merit, fully in line with the values and solidarity-based European sports model.

“We are convinced that the format chosen strikes the right balance and that it will improve the competitive balance and generate solid revenues that can be distributed to clubs, leagues and into grassroots football across our continent while increasing the appeal and popularity of our club competitions.

“Qualification will thus remain purely based on sporting performance and the dream to participate will remain for all clubs.”

The number of clubs in the Champions League will increase from 32 to 36, where each will play eight games over 10 game weeks.

How could this benefit Newcastle United?

Well, it’s simple really, Newcastle United could qualify for the Champions League by finishing fifth in the Premier League table. Essentially, the “race for the top four” is predicted to become “the race for the top five.”

While there is no doubt the Magpies have ambitions to rival the current top four of Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal, the opening of fifth could effectively accelerate their hopes of qualifying for Europe’s top competition.

As Eddie Howe’s men have discovered in recent months - see Liverpool, Manchester City and Spurs defeats for example - bridging the gap to the top four still remains a huge challenge. Finishing in fifth, although is still difficult, does feel a lot more achievable. Certainly, in the short-term anyway as United build steadily under their extremely wealthy owners.

Leicester City and West Ham United have proven that in recent seasons, both finishing high up the table, while Newcastle did also when they claimed fifth spot in the 2011/12 campaign under Alan Pardew.

The knock-on effect from that is, Champions League football = a greater chance of attracting the very best players and so forth. In two years’ time, when the new rules are introduced, Newcastle will hope to be in a position where they can compete for the top five.