Logo of UEFA Champions League is displayed during the UEFA Champions League draw at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)
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Stung by criticism that the competition has become too predictable, UEFA emphasized that it would continue to be open for teams from Europe's smaller national leagues although the number of places set aside for them would drop from five to four.UEFA also stopped short of guaranteeing captive places for certain big clubs, another possibility which sources said had been discussed privately in meetings over the past few months.Under the present system, the top three leagues have three places each while their fourth-placed teams must play off over two legs for a place in the group stage.UEFA uses a complicated coefficient to determine the rankings of the national leagues.
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