European qualification for UEFA competitions explained

A breakdown of how PL clubs can qualify for the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League

Below is a breakdown of how Premier League clubs can qualify to play in UEFA competitions.

The maximum number of English teams in UEFA competitions is seven.

(Please note UEFA reserves the right to change the conditions of the access list so these criteria can be subject to change.) 

UEFA Champions League (UCL) qualification

In normal circumstances, four UCL places are given to English clubs who fulfil the following criteria:

  • The top four teams in the Premier League qualify for the group stage proper.
UEFA Europa League (UEL) qualification

In normal circumstances, two UEL places are given to English clubs who fulfil the following criteria:

  • The fifth-placed team in the Premier League qualify for the group stage proper.
  • The winners of the FA Cup qualify for the group stage proper.
UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL) qualification
  • The EFL Cup winners qualify for the playoff stages.
Where these qualifications changes

a) If the FA Cup winners finish in the top five of the Premier League, their UEL group stage place will go to the next-highest ranked team not qualified for UEFA competitions in the Premier League.

b) If the EFL Cup winners finish in the top five of the Premier League (or top six if (a) happens), their UECL playoff place will go to the next-highest ranked team not qualified for UEFA competitions in the Premier League.

How does winning UCL/UEL affect qualification?

Should a Premier League club win the UEFA Champions League they will automatically qualify for the group stage of next season’s competition regardless of their league finishing position.

Should a Premier League club win the UEFA Europa League they will automatically qualify for the group stage of next season’s UEFA Champions League regardless of their league finishing position.

If a club win the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League and finish in the top four, their qualification for the UCL through their league position is not transferred to another team.  

A maximum of five Premier League teams are eligible for UEFA Champions League qualification.

In the event that a Premier League club win the UEFA Champions League and another win the UEFA Europa League and neither of these clubs finish in the top four of the Premier League, the club lying fourth in the table will drop into the UEFA Europa League group stage.

If a Premier League club win the UEFA Champions League and another win the UEFA Europa League and neither have qualified for UEFA competitions through their league positions or by winning the FA Cup or EFL Cup, they will qualify for the UEFA Champions League and the club finishing fourth in the table will drop into the UEFA Europa League group stage. 

This UEFA Europa League group stage place will be in addition to the one for the club finishing fifth and to the places in the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League for the FA Cup and EFL Cup winners (or for the highest-ranked clubs not qualified for UEFA competitions in the Premier League if the FA Cup and EFL Cup winners have already qualified for UEFA competitions through their league position).

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