UEFA is set to introduced a significant change in Champions League seedings in time for next season.
The general secretary Gianni Infantino confirmed that the holders, alongside the league champions from UEFA’s seven top-ranked nations, will receive top seeding for the 2014-15 competition.
Teams are currently seeded based on their UEFA coefficient, which depends on the performances of each country’s clubs performances in the Champions League and Europa League.
On that basis, Spain had three top seeded sides in Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid, while England had two in Chelsea and Arsenal, as did Portugal with Benfica and Porto, while Germany’s Bayern Munich completed the list.
The change of policy has been agreed on the basis on “sporting merit”, said Infantino.
Infantino told Sky Sports News: “It will be ratified later on by the executive committee but it’s a clear recommendation of the club competition’s committee that the seeding system changes in this respect as from next season.
“People had difficulties in understanding how the champion of a country is in a lower pot than the third-ranked in that country.
“This will give another dynamic with the draw and in the way the groups are composed. It will be approved with the regulations at the start of next year.
“The club committee felt that there should be somehow an additional award given to the winners of the different national competitions.
“Football is about winning, it’s about competition, it’s about sporting merit.
“I think it’s kind of a natural thing to give to those who have won a competition a special treatment like this.”