European qualification for UEFA competitions explained

The UEFA Champions League trophy

A breakdown of how PL clubs can qualify for the UEFA Champions League and Europa 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, three 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.
  • The EFL Cup winners qualify for the second qualifying round.
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 UEL second qualifying round 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.

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.