Cup 3: FFUK Champions League – How It Works
As previously trailed, there will be a third cup this year for FFUK managers. The inspiration for this has always been the Champions League, and it is this real-world competition which will inform how the cup will run.
The Champions League returns after Christmas during Gameweek 26. This will mark the start of the FFUK Champions League, with the cup running week by week through to a final in Gameweek 38.
79 teams in total qualified for the Champions League in 2019/20, so 79 FFUK managers will qualify for the FFUK version. Anyone in the FFUK league can qualify. To find out how please see the forthcoming post “FFUK Champions League – How To Qualify”.
The Champions League operates a fiendishly complicated qualification process prior to the Group Stage. Not to be deterred, the FFUK Champions League will recreate this process as precisely as possible! The 79 FFUK managers will each be assigned to a real-life team who qualified for the Champions League in a random live video draw. All the draws through to the Champions League Group Stage have, of course, already been made, so each team’s path to this point is already set.
It all starts with a preliminary stage involving just four teams. They play a semi-final (GW26) and a final (GW27) with the winner joining 31 other teams in the first qualifying round (GW28). These 32 are whittled down to 16 winners, who are joined by 8 more teams in the second qualifying round (GW29). The 12 winners of these ties are joined by a further 8 qualifiers, to contest ten ties in the third qualifying round (GW30). Finally, we have the Playoff Round (GW31) where the ten winners from the third qualifying round are joined by a further two teams, and who play off for six spaces in the Group Stage.
At each stage the winner of the tie is based on scores in FFUK during the respective Gameweek. The winner of the tie follows the winner of the real-world tie into the next round – so your real-world team will likely change (possibly several times) throughout the competition. Your path is determined by the team you draw, but your assigned team will change depending on the real-world results.
The Group Stage is contested by 32 teams – 6 from the above, ludicrously over-complicated, but strangely satisfying, qualification process. They are joined by 26 automatic qualifiers. So, you ideally want to be drawn as one of these 26 teams to avoid that qualification process. The teams you are assigned will form four-team Groups as per the Champions League with scores being aggregated for Gameweeks 32, 33 and 34. Group winners and runners-up will be determined by those aggregate scores, for those weeks.
In the event of a tie, in all situations, overall rank will determine who goes through.
Then on we go to the knockout stage and the round of 16 (GW35). Teams will continue to follow the path as laid out by the draws made in real-life (so no need to do our own!). If the winner of Group A is drawn to play the runner up of Group B, so the same will be true for the FFUK Champions League, irrespective of which team you were originally assigned. As the competition progresses through QF (GW36) and SF (GW37), remaining teams will continue to follow the path as laid out by the results and draws in real-life until the FFUK champions league final in GW38.
The full list of 79 teams that qualified for the Champions League this season, together with the round in which they joined the competition, is as follows:
|SP Tre Penne (SMR)||Preliminary Round|
|Feronikeli (KOS)||Preliminary Round|
|FC Santa Coloma (AND)||Preliminary Round|
|Lincoln Red Imps (GIB)||Preliminary Round|
|Nõmme Kalju (EST)||First Qualifying Round|
|Sūduva (LTU)||First Qualifying Round|
|Ararat-Armenia (ARM)||First Qualifying Round|
|Astana (KAZ)||First Qualifying Round|
|Ludogorets (BUL)||First Qualifying Round|
|Celtic (SCO)||First Qualifying Round|
|Sheriff Tiraspol (MDA)||First Qualifying Round|
|F91 Dudelange (LUX)||First Qualifying Round|
|Partizani (ALB)||First Qualifying Round|
|Slovan Bratislava (SVK)||First Qualifying Round|
|Linfield (NIR)||First Qualifying Round|
|Valur Reykjavík (ISL)||First Qualifying Round|
|Dundalk (IRL)||First Qualifying Round|
|The New Saints (WAL)||First Qualifying Round|
|HJK Helsinki (FIN)||First Qualifying Round|
|BATE Borisov (BLR)||First Qualifying Round|
|Shkëndija (MKD)||First Qualifying Round|
|Crvena zvezda (SRB)||First Qualifying Round|
|AIK (SWE)||First Qualifying Round|
|CFR Cluj (ROU)||First Qualifying Round|
|Ferencváros (HUN)||First Qualifying Round|
|Sarajevo (BIH)||First Qualifying Round|
|Saburtalo (GEO)||First Qualifying Round|
|Valletta (MLT)||First Qualifying Round|
|Qarabağ (AZE)||First Qualifying Round|
|Sutjeska (MNE)||First Qualifying Round|
|Rosenborg (NOR)||First Qualifying Round|
|Maribor (SVN)||First Qualifying Round|
|Riga (LVA)||First Qualifying Round|
|HB Tórshavn (FRO)||First Qualifying Round|
|Piast Gliwice (POL)||First Qualifying Round|
|Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC (ISR)||Second Qualifying Round|
|FC Kobenhavn (DEN)||Second Qualifying Round|
|GNK Dinamo (CRO)||Second Qualifying Round|
|Apoel FC (CYP)||Second Qualifying Round|
|Viktoria Plzeň (CZE)||Second Qualifying Round|
|PSV Eindhoven (NED)||Second Qualifying Round|
|Olympiacos (GRE)||Second Qualifying Round|
|Basel (SUI)||Second Qualifying Round|
|PAOK (GRE)||Third Qualifying Round|
|Ajax (NED)||Third Qualifying Round|
|İstanbul Başakşehir (TUR)||Third Qualifying Round|
|Krasnodar (RUS)||Third Qualifying Round|
|Club Brugge (BEL)||Third Qualifying Round|
|Porto (POR)||Third Qualifying Round|
|Dynamo Kyiv (UKR)||Third Qualifying Round|
|LASK (AUT)||Third Qualifying Round|
|Slavia Praha (CZE)||Playoff Round|
|Young Boys (SUI)||Playoff Round|
|Paris (FRA)||Group Stage|
|Real Madrid (ESP)||Group Stage|
|Galatasaray (TUR)||Group Stage|
|Bayern (GER)||Group Stage|
|Tottenham (ENG)||Group Stage|
|Man. City (ENG)||Group Stage|
|Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)||Group Stage|
|Atalanta (ITA)||Group Stage|
|Juventus (ITA)||Group Stage|
|Atlético (ESP)||Group Stage|
|Leverkusen (GER)||Group Stage|
|Lokomotiv Moskva (RUS)||Group Stage|
|Liverpool (ENG)||Group Stage|
|Napoli (ITA)||Group Stage|
|Salzburg (AUT)||Group Stage|
|Genk (BEL)||Group Stage|
|Barcelona (ESP)||Group Stage|
|Dortmund (GER)||Group Stage|
|Internazionale (ITA)||Group Stage|
|Zenit (RUS)||Group Stage|
|Benfica (POR)||Group Stage|
|Lyon (FRA)||Group Stage|
|Leipzig (GER)||Group Stage|
|Chelsea (ENG)||Group Stage|
|Valencia (ESP)||Group Stage|
|LOSC (FRA)||Group Stage|
It is worth noting the incredible achievement of Serbian outfit Crvena Zvezda who have qualified for the Group Stage having joined the competition in the First Qualifying Round.
This may take a couple of read-throughs to get! I thought about directing you to UEFA’s website to find out more, but frankly it’s so hard to follow that I really wouldn’t bother!
Good luck if you make it through qualification – please see the forthcoming related post to find out if you have already qualified (many have!) and if not, what you need to do between now and the end of January!