Premier League: How many teams will qualify for European football for next season?

Premier League looks set to miss out on an extra place in the Champions League next season so which sides are in line for qualifying for European competition?

Image: The Champions League will have a new format next season – but which Premier League teams will be involved?

How many Premier League clubs will qualify for the new-look Champions League, Europa League and UEFA Conference League next season and will seventh place earn a spot in Europe?

With Manchester City and Arsenal knocked out of the Champions League quarter-finals and Liverpool and West Ham exiting the Europa League at the same stage, the prospects of the Premier League earning an additional Champions League place are now extremely slim.

  • PL hopes of fifth CL spot down to 1.1 per cent

So working on the basis no extra spot is available for that competition, here’s how many European places are up for grabs and who could get them…

Champions League – four places

Image: Man City are almost certain to take one of the four Champions League spots

The Champions League is increasing from a 32-team competition to a 36-team competition next season (more on that below) but with the Premier League now unlikely to earn an additional fifth qualifying spot based on coefficient rankings the top four sides in the Premier League will qualify for the Champions League.

They will all go directly into the new league phase of the competition, with no qualifying or play-off rounds required.

Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa are currently in line for a Champions League place.

Europa League – two places

Image: Newcastle are in the running for a Europa League place

Fifth place in the Premier League will qualify for next season’s Europa League, again with the team going directly into the new league phase, rather than needing to play any additional qualifying or play-off game. Tottenham are currently in position to take this spot.

The winners of the FA Cup will also enter the Europa League. That could mean Championship Coventry are playing in Europe next season. They face Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday.

United could be relying on this route into European football for next season.

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If the winners of the FA Cup finish in the top five of the Premier League – and therefore qualify for the Champions League or Europa League through their league position – their Europa League spot for FA Cup glory will be passed down to the next-highest ranked Premier League side not competing in Europe.

That is currently Newcastle, who are in sixth.

What if Aston Villa win the Europa Conference League?

Image: Aston Villa are into the semi-finals of the Europa Conference League

There is a bonus Europa League spot available should Aston Villa win the Europa Conference League and not finish in the Champions League or Europa League qualifying places.

Victory in that competition would earn them a Europa League place next term.

If Villa do qualify for the Champions League or Europa League, their bonus Europa League qualifying spot would not be passed on to another Premier League team.

UEFA Conference League – one place

Image: Will it be the third tier of European competition for Man Utd next season?

There is one place available to Premier League sides for the UEFA Conference League – note the subtle name change – next season.

Qualification for this tournament was given to the winners of the Carabao Cup. However, because Liverpool are on course for a Champions League spot, this qualifying place will be passed down to the next highest ranked team which hasn’t qualified for Europe.

This would currently be Newcastle, who sit sixth in the Premier League. However, they may earn a Europa League spot if the FA Cup winners finish in the top five.

In that case the UEFA Conference League place would go down to seventh, which is currently occupied by Manchester United.

How does the new Champions League format work?

Image: Next season's Scottish Premiership winner will face one qualification round to enter the Champions League, with three qualifiers facing the runners-up

Taking the total number of teams from 32 to 36 in the Champions League, the biggest change will see a transformation from the traditional group stage to a single league phase including all participating teams.

Every club will now be guaranteed a minimum of eight league-stage games against eight different opponents (four home games, four away) rather than the previous six matches against three teams, played on a home-and-away basis.

The top eight sides in the league will qualify automatically for the knockout stage, while the teams finishing in ninth to 24th place will compete in a two-legged play-off to secure their path to the last 16 of the competition.

Teams ranked 25-36 are eliminated from all competitions.

Europa League and Europa Conference League changing too?

Similar changes will be made to the Europa League and Europa Conference League formats, with 36 teams in each.

Teams in the Europa League will have eight matches against eight different opponents in the league phase.

In the Europa Conference League – renamed the UEFA Conference League – teams will have six matches against six different opponents in the league phase. The UEFA Conference League games will be played between September and December.

The knockout phase of the competitions will take place through the second half of the season and culminate at the end of the campaign, as they do now.


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