UEFA have announced changes to the Champions League qualification process which could open up the possibility for fifth-placed Premier League teams to qualify.
Football’s governing body has scrapped controversial plans under which teams would be allocated a slot based on their performance over five years, fearing it could resemble European Super League plans.
Instead, UEFA opted to award four additional places in the tournament.
The top two additional places will be awarded to the best performing nations collectively.
This change in requirement means that if the new rules applied this year, England and the Netherlands would be the two countries that could send another team to the competition.
In the case of the Premier League, it would therefore be Tottenham Hotspur’s fifth place that would qualify for the Champions League.
Instead, Spurs battle it out with Arsenal for a coveted top four spot and meet in a decisive game on Thursday night, with victory for the Gunners securing their place in next season’s Champions League.
However, if the new regulations were in effect now, both teams would currently qualify for the competition.
Most read in the Champions League
Man City confirm Haaland deal, Tuchel over Chelsea concerns, Conte slams Klopp
remaining in place
Lazio chief dismisses transfer rumors over Man United target and reveals huge offer
What Arsenal and Spurs need to secure the top four and what will happen if Liverpool win the UCL
Carragher and Redknapp’s hilarious comments after Richards’ unexpected Man City claim
Liverpool’s UCL hammering of Barcelona kept Busquets off Twitter for three years
Klopp tells ticketless fans to ‘enjoy Paris’ amid confusion over Champions League award
Likewise, Leicester City would have qualified last season given that England were one of the two most successful countries where Chelsea beat Manchester City.
The other two places will go to the club third in the association championship to fifth in the UEFA National Association Rankings, as well as to another national champion, increasing the number of clubs in the “Champions Path” from four to five.
This brings the total number of competing teams from 32 to 36.
In addition to the qualification changes, the Champions League group stages will instead be a single 36-team league table, with the top eight teams qualifying and the ninth to twenty-fourth entering a play-off, which will be decided by knockout. .
The UEFA rule changes will come into effect in the 2024/25 season.