Skip to content

Report: UEFA to computerize Champions League draw next season

Claudio Lavenia - UEFA / UEFA / Getty

Find the biggest stories from across the soccer world by visiting our Top Soccer News section and subscribing to push notifications.

UEFA will rely on a computer system to generate next season's Champions League fixtures because it'd take up to four hours to draw opponents manually, ESPN's Dale Johnson reports.

With 36 teams set to enter the competition, UEFA has to use a complex formula to get the draw right. Otherwise, it'd require 900 balls to draw manually, according to Johnson.

Instead of using former players to pick balls out of bins, computer technology will sort each of the 36 teams from four initial pots of nine. Each club will play four games at home and another four away in the league phase, with the top eight finishers qualifying directly to the round of 16. The teams that fall between ninth and 24th place will go to a two-legged playoff to determine the remaining last-16 berths. The 12 worst finishers will be eliminated.

UEFA will reportedly hire accounting company Ernst & Young to ensure accuracy and fairness.

Teams that qualify for the round of 16 will reportedly be seeded according to where they finish in the league standings, ensuring the top two finishers can't meet until the final. A bracket will be established when the last-16 draw is complete.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox