With the Premier League kick-off fast approaching, here's what's new for the 2023/24 season.
Extra UEFA Champions League spot
For the first time in Premier League history, the 2023/24 season could have five teams qualifying for the UEFA Champions League (UCL) through their league positions.
Traditionally the top four clubs in the Premier League go into Europe’s premier club competition the following season. On one occasion the Premier League did have five teams in the UCL, when Liverpool lifted the trophy in 2005 and finished outside the top four.
But the UEFA Champions League has a new format for the 2024/25 season, with an expanded 36 participating teams in a “Swiss league” format. This also allows for an additional place to be each allocated to two countries whose clubs collectively performed the best in UEFA competitions the season before.
So, if the Premier League clubs provide one of the top two performances for a nation in the 2023/24 UCL, UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League the team finishing fifth this season will earn a UCL spot.
Last season, Manchester City won the Champions League while West Ham United claimed the UECL with a 2-1 victory over Fiorentina. Indeed, in five of the past six seasons – and seven of the past 11 – the Premier League would have merited this extra spot.
We will likely only know when that fifth spot will come into play for the UCL towards the end of the season, when the geographical spread of the participating clubs in the latter stages UEFA competitions is known.
In theory, there could even be seven Premier League clubs in the Champions League next season, although it would require for Premier League clubs to win this season’s UCL and UECL while both finishing outside the top five.
Qualification for the two other UEFA competitions, the Europa League and Europa Conference League, will follow the same protocols as in previous years, albeit if the fifth spot qualifies for the Champions League, the Europa League spot will go to the team finishing sixth.
Also in this series
Part 1: Nike Flight ball
Part 2: Number and font styles on shirts
Part 3: Premier League's 51st club
Part 4: Match officials
Part 5: Return of mid-season player break
Part 7: Applications of the Laws of the Game
Part 8: VAR Hub