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UEFA confirm new Champions League group stage seeding system

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Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

News of October are making the rounds in April thanks to UEFA releasing the 2015-16 edition of their Champions League handbook.  (I think.)

In it, they confirm the new seeding system that comes into effect this summer, and will stay for at least three season since these things are looked at, revised, and approved three seasons at a time.  Apparently this warrants front page news in many outlets (ESPN, for example), so even though we talked about how silly this all was back in October, we get to talk about it again now.

Here are the new rules, in case you had forgotten:

For the purpose of the draw, the 32 clubs involved in the group stage are seeded into four groups of eight. The first group comprises the titleholder (top seed) and the domestic champions of the seven top-ranked associations in accordance with the access list. If the titleholder is one of the top seven associations' domestic champions, the group is completed with the champion of the association ranked eight. The other three groups are composed in accordance with the club coefficient rankings established at the beginning of the season.

-2015/16 CL Handbook, Article 13.05

Basically, it means that Manchester United, Arsenal, Real Madrid, and any other team not winning their domestic league (or not winning the previous year's Champions League) will be, at best, a second seed for the group stage draw.  Chelsea's reward for winning the Premier League could very well be a date with Real Madrid in the group stages.  Fun!

As it stands right now, here would be the eight top seeds for next year's group stage draw.  I'm assuming either Bayern Munich or Barcelona shall win the Champions League this year.  If, say, Real Madrid (or some other team who didn't win their domestic title) go on to win, then the winner of the eighth ranked association (Ukraine) drops to pot 2.

  1. Spain -- Barcelona
  2. England -- Chelsea
  3. Germany -- Bayern Munich
  4. Italy -- Juventus
  5. Portugal -- Benfica
  6. France -- Olympique Lyonnais
  7. Russia -- Zenit St. Petersburg
  8. Ukraine -- Dynamo Kiev

You can always check the competition rankings on UEFA's official site.  It's a pretty close race for the 8th spot between Ukraine and Netherlands at the moment.  The top 7 are mostly set.

Going forward, I guess we'll just have to win the Premier League every year to ensure that we retain our customary spot in pot 1.