Which Premier League clubs will qualify for the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League?

The Premier League season is entering the final straight and the race for a place in Europe next season is starting to heat up.

We take a look at who is in contention to qualify for the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League, and what impact an English team winning a European trophy could have.

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How many teams qualify for Europe?

The maximum you can qualify for by domestic performance in the Premier League, either by league position or by winning one of the two cup competitions, is seven.

However, the places reserved for the European champions are separated Yes a team does not qualify nationally. So it is technically possible, though unlikely, for the Premier League to have 10 teams in Europe: the seven domestic qualifiers plus the winners of the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League. Yes they are out of European places.

This season, a maximum of nine Premier League teams could qualify for Europe.

Which Premier League places will qualify this season?

At the start of the season, the top four in the Premier League qualify for the Champions League, while the fifth place and FA Cup winners enter the Europa League. The winners of the Carabao Cup qualify for the Europa Conference League.

However, Liverpool won the Carabao Cup and cannot finish lower than fifth in the league, so the Europa Conference League place is transferred to the Premier League.

Similarly, the FA Cup final will be between Chelsea and Liverpool. There’s virtually no mathematical chance of Chelsea finishing outside the top six if they were the winner, so we can be almost certain that the Europa League spot will also transfer to the Premier League.

So, purely on domestic performance, we know the following:
Champions League: 1, 2, 3, 4
European League: 5, 6
Europa Conference League: 7

All teams go straight to the group stage, except for the Europa Conference League, where the seventh-placed club will enter the final qualifying stage.

Who is in the race for Europe?

Manchester City (74) and Liverpool (73 points) have all but confirmed their places in the Champions League, while Chelsea would have to endure a massive collapse to drop out of the top four.

Tottenham Hotspur (57) occupies fourth position in the Champions League, three points ahead of Manchester United and Arsenal (both with 54, although the Gunners have a match to play). Fourth place in the UCL is likely to go to one of these three teams.

West Ham United (52) are five points behind Spurs although they have played one more game, with Wolverhampton Wanderers (49) in eighth place.

Although ninth-placed Leicester City (40) could play again as they have games to go, only the top eight will most likely remain in contention.

to play


Shaka Hislop finds it baffling that a struggling Man United side can still qualify for the Champions League.

What if Liverpool or Manchester City win the Champions League?

This will have no effect on the Premier League, as clubs are essentially guaranteed to finish in the top four this season. There is no “dropdown” of places to give fifth place in the Champions League.

If the Champions League winners also qualify domestically, the group stage position for the champions becomes vacant. This is not filled by giving another team a spot, the qualifying rounds are rebalanced with clubs effectively receiving byes.

Normally, this would mean that the champions of the country ranked 11th in the UEFA coefficient table at the end of the 2020-21 season, which is Scotland, would go straight to the Champions League group stage, rather than to have to classify.

However, Russia are in eighth place, and if their clubs continue to be shut out of European competition, Scotland will move up one position to tenth anyway. That would give the 12th-ranked country champions a place in the group stage. As it happens, this is Ukraine, although there are obvious doubts about the participation of their clubs next season. Then we move on to the 13th ranked country, and they would be the champions of Turkey promoted to the group stage.

What if West Ham wins the Europa League?

By winning the Europa League, West Ham will earn a place in the Champions League group stage, and will be one of the top eight seeds in the draw.

How that affects European places in the Premier League depends solely on where they end up.

There are three fundamental principles:
– The winners of a European competition are automatically entitled to European football the following season.
– A team is entitled to play in the highest ranked competition for which it qualifies.
– Another team in the Premier League cannot be affected by the success of another in Europe.

There are some caveats, but they won’t apply this season, so we’re keeping things simple and avoiding them.

So we know that if West Ham win the Europa League:
– They are guaranteed to play in the Champions League wherever they finish in the Premier League
– Eighth of the Premier League cannot qualify for Europe as a result of this

If West Ham finish fourth, it has a similar effect to Liverpool or Man City winning the Champions League, as the place for the Europa League champions is vacated and the qualifying rounds are rebalanced. The difference is that third-placed France will advance directly to the Champions League group stage.

If West Ham finish in any other European position in the league (fifth, sixth or seventh), the Premier League effectively forfeits a place in that competition. The spot becomes vacant and the qualifying rounds are rebalanced.

So if West Ham finish fifth or sixth, there will only be one team in the Europa League:
Champions League: 1, 2, 3, 4, West Ham
European League: 5 or 6 only
Europa Conference League: 7

If West Ham finish seventh, their current league position, there will be no English team in the Europa Conference League:
Champions League: 1, 2, 3, 4, West Ham
European League: 5, 6
Europa Conference League:

This happened in Spain last season, when Villarreal won the Europa League and finished seventh, meaning that LaLiga had no representative in the inaugural season of the Europa Conference League.

If West Ham finish lower than seventh, they will take their place in Europe as champions, but the top seven will be affected – there would be eight Premier League teams in Europe:
Champions League: 1, 2, 3, 4, West Ham
European League: 5, 6
Europa Conference League: 7

What if Leicester win the Europa Conference League?

This is much less of a hassle as there is only a slim chance of Leicester finishing in the top seven in the Premier League. The Foxes are 12 points behind West Ham in seventh place, although they have three games in hand.

If Leicester win the Europa Conference League, they will qualify for next season’s Europa League. As long as Leicester finish outside the top seven, they will create an additional European place as champions. As mentioned above, another Premier League team cannot lose or benefit as a result of Leicester’s success.

Champions League: 1, 2, 3, 4
European League: 5, 6Leicester
Europa Conference League: 7

If Leicester break into the top seven, then the same principles apply as in the West Ham section. For example, if Leicester finish seventh, the Premier League would lose its place in the Europa Conference League next season.

How can the Premier League have nine teams in Europe?

This is only possible if Leicester and West Ham win the European titles and finish outside the top 7, which is certainly possible as both are likely to focus on Europe now.

Champions League: 1, 2, 3, 4, West Ham
European League: 5, 6Leicester
Europa Conference League: 7

Can’t eighth in the Premier League qualify for Europe?

It is impossible for eight to qualify by league position. This team must win a domestic cup competition or a European title to play in Europe the following season.

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