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By ESPN Staff
Dec 1, 2007

Saturday UCL final will be a big draw - Platini

UEFA president Michel Platini insists playing the Champions League final on a Saturday will make the event more open to families.

Wembley is in the running to be the first stadium to host a Champions League final on a Saturday, after UEFA decided to move the occasion from its traditional Wednesday night slot from the 2009-10 season.

Platini said: 'I hope that playing the UEFA Champions League final on a Saturday will give families, especially children, the chance to see the game.'

Wembley faces competition from Berlin's Olympiastadion, the Allianz Arena in Munich, Real Madrid's Bernabeu and the Mestalla in Valencia.

UEFA's executive committee, meeting in Lucerne, Switzerland, also confirmed changes to the format of the competition that will allow three Premier League teams to qualify automatically for the group stage of the Champions League.

The fourth-placed side, however, will face a stiffer test in their qualifying round - because they are more likely to play against stronger opponents than under the current format.

Platini's determination to see more champions in the competition, and more from lower leagues, sees 22 clubs qualifying automatically - including the Scottish champions.

Five more places will go to the 15 leading countries in Europe, decided through qualifying rounds, and the remaining five reserved for the champions of the lowest 40 clubs.

Platini also confirmed proposals to allow domestic cup winners to qualify for the Champions League have been shelved, but not scrapped altogether.

The UEFA Cup between 2009 and 2012 will feature 48 sides, split into 12 groups of four; the top two teams in each group will qualify for the knockout phase and be joined by the eight clubs that finish the group stage of the Champions League in third place.

UEFA also confirmed that the Intertoto Cup will be abolished.