European football leading body UEFA has decided to ring some changes as regards its two leading club competitions – the Champions League and the Europa League. The change in the Champions League is geared towards ensuring 26 teams qualify automatically for the competition. In this new format, the best 4 teams that ply their trade in Europe’s top 4 leagues (England, Spain, Italy and Germany) will get a direct nod to the group phase of the competition and would be joined by the top two teams from France and Russia.
Others include winners of this season’s Champions League and Europa league alongside winners of the leagues in Portugal, Ukraine, Turkey and Belgium. Should in case the winners of this season’s Champions League qualifies for next season’s competition by virtue of their position in their domestic league the winner of the league from the 11th top league in Europe replaces them. Simply put if Manchester City win the Champions League and they also finish top four in the Premier league then a team from Czech is drafted into the group stage of the competition.
If the Europa League winners qualify for the Champions League via their domestic posting it means the 3rd placed team in France at the end of the season makes it to Champions League next season. A country can be represented by 5 clubs in the Champions League just exactly how England boasts of 5 representatives in this season’s edition.
For the Europa league, 10 teams qualify automatically from England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France. These 10 teams are the teams that finish 5th or 6th in the various domestic leagues of the countries. Another 7 teams will join them from Portugal, Belgium, Czech, Switzerland, Ukraine, Turkey and Russia. The remaining teams to make up the Europa League group phase are teams that have been eliminated from the qualifying rounds of the Champions League.