UEFA have announced a series of changes to the Champions League and Europa League. The changes will come into effect from the 2018/19 season.
All of the Premier League’s top six will be guaranteed European group stage football next season. The top four will be guaranteed Champions League group stage spots with those in fifth and sixth directly qualifying for the groups of the Europa League.
Previously, the fourth team in the Premier League have had to navigate the final round of qualifying for a group stage spot in the Champions League while only fifth place in the league guaranteed a spot in the Europa League group stages.
The Premier League aren’t the only league to benefit from the change as four teams from Germany, Spain and Italy, plus the reigning champions of both European competitions, are also assured of Champions League group stage places from the 2018/19 season.
Russia and France’s top two and the Portuguese, Ukrainian, Belgium and Turkish champions complete the set of those who qualify automatically.
Only a maximum of five teams from any one league can make the group stage of the Champions League from the 2018/19 season.
Two teams from the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1 qualify directly for the Europa League group stages.
Matches in the Champions League won’t kick off in the traditional 19:45 GMT/BST time. From the 2018/19 season, games will get underway at either 5.55pm or 8pm, as they do already in the Europa League.