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Article

Seeding the UEFA Champions League Participants: Evaluation of the Reforms

Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports. 2019. Vol. 15. No. 2. P. 129-140.
Dagaev D., Rudyak V. Y.

We evaluate the sporting effects of the seeding system reforms in the Champions League, the major football club tournament organized by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Before the 2015-16 season, the teams were seeded in the group stage by their ratings. Starting from the 2015-16 season, national champions
of the Top-7 associations are seeded in the fi rst pot, whereas other teams are seeded by their rating as before. Taking effect from the season 2018-19, the team's rating will not longer include 20% of the rating of the association that the team represents. Using the prediction model, we simulate the whole UEFA season and obtain numerical
estimates for competitiveness changes in the UEFA tournaments caused by these seeding reforms. We report only marginal changes in tournament metrics that characterize ability of the tournament to select the best teams and competitive balance. Probability of changes in the UEFA national association ranking does not exceed several percent for any association.