Premier League’s fifth-placed side could secure Champions League football under radical new Uefa plans
PREMIER LEAGUE clubs will be chasing a FIFTH Champions League next season – as long as England’s Euro domination continues.
Uefa’s Premier competition will be extended to 36 teams from 32 for the 2024-25 season.
The Premier League could soon get an extra place in the Champions LeagueGetty
And two of the four extra places will be awarded to the nations that are top of the “country coefficient” chart each season.
That is a table based on the results of a nation’s teams in all three European competitions.
The total points earned by every nation’s clubs – with bonus points for reaching certain stages plus match-related points – are divided by the number of sides in European competitions.
In six of the past seven seasons, including this term, this would have meant an extra place in the big time for Prem clubs.
The exception was 2019-20, when Spain and Germany took the first two spots.
If the system had been in operation for this season, Arsenal – fifth in the Prem last year after their late collapse – would have been joined by Dutch runners up PSV.
This season, the team finishing fifth in the Prem – which could still be any of Newcastle, Manchester United, Liverpool or Brighton – would get a place alongside the fifth team in Italy’s Serie A.
The new system was agreed after a deal between Uefa and the European Club Association in Vienna in May last year, which will see 36 teams playing in the main part of all three competitions.
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Instead of the current system of eight groups of four clubs in the initial phase, there will be a simple “league” format.
Each club will play eight matches in the opening phase – against seeded opposition, in a system designed to ensure that teams play opponents of similar difficulty.
The top eight teams in the “final” table will automatically go through to the last 16 of the knock-out stage.
They will be joined by the eight play-off winners of ties between the sides placed ninth to 24th in the table.
Despite there being just eight matches in the opening phase, European matches WILL be spread over 10 midweek slots.
The Europa League and Conference League will each have a week when matches can be played across Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as the standalone competition being played.