Champions League, Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League qualification explained

There are just seven Premier League games left in the season and a handful of cup ties remaining and the race for European football is hotting up.

European qualification is usually a fairly easy concept to understand, however, with the introduction of a third UEFA club tournament next season, the Europa Conference League (UECL), things are a little harder to understand this year.

Particularly when you add the progress of Chelsea in the Champions League (UCL), Arsenal in the Europa League (UEL) and Southampton potentially qualifying for Europe via the FA Cup despite sitting in 14th spot in the league table.

To help you understand the European qualification dilemmas facing the London-based clubs, we at have done our best to simplify it as much as possible.

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UEFA Champions League

Traditionally very easy to understand. The top four in the Premier League qualify for the following season’s Champions League.

On only one occasion in the past 19 years has this not happened, when in 2012 Chelsea won the UCL but finished 6th in the Premier League and therefore demoted 4th-placed Spurs to the Europa League.

This can no longer happen. In the exact same scenario, the UCL holder and the 4th placed team will qualify for the Champions League with any one country now allowed a maximum of five teams in Europe’s premier competition.

However, there is one scenario where the 4th placed Premier League team misses out on UCL football.

If two English teams – Chelsea and Arsenal for example – win the UCL and UEL respectively AND finish outside the top four then both teams qualify for the following season’s UCL and the 4th placed team drops into the UEL.

With West Ham currently in fourth and Chelsea and Arsenal both still involved in European competition, this scenario is still on the cards. If either Arsenal or Chelsea were to be…


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