(WFI) European football will never be the same starting next season.
UEFA has approved a set of new rules for its 2018/2019 campaign that apply not only to the Champions League but also to the Europa League and the UEFA Super Cup.
The new regulations establish that from the 2018/19 season, a fourth substitute may take part in knockout matches exclusively during extra time. This will not affect the other three substitutions.
Another new rule states that exclusively for the UEFA Champions League final, the UEFA Europa League final and UEFA Super Cup, 23 players will be available to play. Thus 12 substitutes (instead of the current seven) per team will sit on the bench in these finals.
Furthermore the European football governing body has approved a change of kick-off times for its matches. UEFA Champions League play-offs, group-stage games, round of 16 matches, quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final will kick off at 9pm Central European Time (CET). That’s 15 minutes later than before.
However, on every group-stage matchday, two of the Tuesday and two of the Wednesday matches will kick off at 6:55 pm CET. All fixtures on the last matchday will be played simultaneously. Some exceptions to this rule may apply.
UEFA Europa League matches from the group stage until round of 16 matches will kick off at 6:55 pm and 9 pm CET. Games within a group will be played simultaneously on the last matchday. The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will all kick off at 9pm CET.
The UEFA Super Cup will kick-off at 9pm CET. This already applies to the next Super Cup which will be played on August 15 at Tallinn’s Lilleküla Stadium in Estonia.
Regarding the registration of players after a group stage of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, a club may register three new eligible players without any restrictions. This will allow players to keep on playing in the competitions for a new club after the winter transfer window.
As it stands, January signings cannot play for a second club in the Champions League or Europa League if they have already played in that competition.
Currently Barcelona cannot field Philippe Coutinho for its Champions League because the Brazilian star played for Liverpool earlier in the competition. The current ban also applies to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who cannot play for Arsenal in the Europa League because he played some matches of that competition for Borussia Dortmund.
Finally next season, teams which have won the UEFA Europa League (or previously the UEFA Cup) three consecutive times or a minimum of five times may also wear a multiple-winner badge on the shirt sleeve. The only team entitled to wear this badge is Sevilla FC, who have won the competition five times (2006, 2007, 2014, 2015, 2016).
By INSIDER Javier Monne
Your best source of news about the global football business is World Football INSIDER