UEFA announce Champions League restructure to help the larger leagues

The changes are introduced in time for the 2018/19 season

UEFA announce Champions League restructure to help the larger leagues

Picture by: Claude Paris / AP/Press Association Images

UEFA have announced that the qualification for the Champions League will change from the 2018/19 season.

The result means that it will become more difficult for teams like Dundalk to reach the group stages, with the larger leagues will be guaranteed more representation.

Europe's top four leagues, will each be guaranteed four spots in the group stages, meaning those leagues will supply half of the group stage participants.

In this season's Champions League, Spain, Germany and England were all given four spots through domestic league performance. Manchester City, Borussia Monchengladbach and Villarreal all played in the play-off round, with the Spanish side failing to qualify. Under the new format, all three sides would advance to the group stages.

Italy's Serie A are currently the fourth-best ranked team in Europe but are only allowed three spots. Like Villarreal, Roma were also knocked out in the play-offs meaning Serie A will only have two teams in the group stages.

UEFA also confirmed that the winners of the previous season's Europa League will play in the group stages of the following season's Champions League.

The 2016/17 tournament begins on September 13th, with games including Celtic's trip to Barcelona and Manchester City's home game against Monchengladbach.