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League champions could be banned from Europe due to bizarre UEFA rule that most fans won't know

League champions could be banned from Europe due to bizarre UEFA rule that most fans won't know

The club could be denied a place in Europe due to UEFA rules.

A European league champion could be excluded from playing in the Champions League next season due to a bizarre UEFA rule few people know about.

The Champions League will take on a new format next season, with 36 clubs entering a league phase instead of 32 entering the group stages.

The expansion of the competition means more opportunity for teams that have never played in the Champions League before to take a seat at European club football's top table.

29 clubs will automatically qualify for the league phase, with seven joining them through the qualifiers.

However, one club might be denied their place in the qualifiers due to a little-known UEFA rule.

On Saturday Jagiellonia Białystok won the Polish Ekstraklasa title for the first time in their 103-year history, and with it secured a place in the qualifying rounds of the 2024-25 Champions League.

Białystok defeated Warta Poznan 3-0 on the final day of the season, meaning they finished the season level on 63 points with Śląsk Wrocław. Białystok were crowned champions due to their superior head-to-head goal difference.

Unfortunately for them, their participation in Europe next season could depend on them finding an alternative venue to play at.

That's not because their 22,000 capacity home isn't up to scratch, but because there is not an airport within 200km of the stadium.

Jagiellonia Bialystok won the Polish Ekstraklasa. (Getty)
Jagiellonia Bialystok won the Polish Ekstraklasa. (Getty)

As reported The Sweeper podcast, UEFA regulations stipulate that there must be an airport within 200km of participating clubs.

The closest international airport - Warsaw Chopin Airport - is approximately 210km from the Białystok City Stadium.

Unless UEFA treat Białystok as a special case, then the club will likely have to find an alternative venues in which to fulfill their Champions League qualifiers.

If the situation is resolved, then Białystok will enter the Champions League in the second qualifying round as an unseeded team in the champions path. The draw will take place on June 19, with the first legs to be played on July 23-24 with the second legs a week later.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Football, Champions League, UEFA, Poland