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Women's Champions League to get group stage from next season

The competition has previously been a straight knockout.

UEFA is set to introduce a group stage to the Women's Champions League from next season, the PA news agency understands.

The competition has until now been run on a straight knockout basis like the old European Cup in men's football, but proposals for a group stage are set to be considered when the European game's executive committee gathers in Nyon on Wednesday.

The size of the group phase is not yet known, but it would provide greater certainty over a minimum number of fixtures for the clubs involved and should also result in enhanced value for television rights.

The change of format could also lead to an increase in the number of English clubs involved. Currently England has two places – the maximum permitted in the existing format.

Arsenal Women's boss Joe Montemurro said in the i last month: "We want the top three in England, the top three in France, in the Champions League.

"They have got to work out a way where the top teams are there for longer and playing each other more regularly. That will showcase the level of the game and show how fantastic the top teams are."

Arsenal are through to the quarter-finals of this season's Champions League but Manchester City Women fell at the last 16 to Atletico Madrid in October.

Other items on the agenda include a discussion around the format for World Cup 2022 qualification, and how it will interlink with the 2020-21 Nations League.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin will face the media at 3.30pm UK time.

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Manchester City women's manager Nick Cushing pictured in April 2018
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