Will the Premier League get a fifth Champions League spot? How Man United, Newcastle exits affect coefficient

The UEFA Champions League will undergo major changes for the 2024/25 season with Premier League sides impacted both in qualifying and the competition itself.

UEFA have opted to end their long-standing group stage format and move to a league style structure which a knockout stage campaign included in the second half of the campaign.

The changes have been met with a mixed reaction from fans, managers and clubs, with Europe’s governing body accused of not involving them in the decision-making process.

However, as part of the updates, the number of teams competing has also increased from 32 to 36, with the potential opportunity for a fifth Premier League team to qualify.

MORE: Which teams have qualified for Champions League knockout stage 2023/24? Round of 16 schedule, draw and how it works

Will the Premier League get a fifth Champions League spot?

The Premier League could receive a fifth Champions League qualifying spot – for the first time in the competition’s history – for the 2024/25 season.

Five Premier League teams have previously qualified for the Champions League, in 2005/06. However, that was due to Liverpool winning the 2005 final and finishing fifth in the Premier League with UEFA granting them a ‘champions’ spot.

The opportunity to gain an extra place via the league route depends on the final UEFA coefficient rankings for each European league at the end of 2023/24.

If the Premier League finishes in the top two of UEFA’s final rankings, it will be given an extra place.

UEFA Champions League coefficient latest

UEFA coefficient rankings are worked out based on the performances of each association/league in European club competitions within five-year cycles.

Each association/league are awarded points based on how well their teams do in Europe which are all added into a final total.

Points are awarded as follows:

  • 2 – All wins from group stage (UCL, UEL, UECL)
  • 1 – All wins in qualifying and play-off matches (UCL, UEL, UECL)
  • 1 – All draws from group stage (UCL, UEL, UECL)
  • 0.5 – All draws in qualifying and play-off matches (UCL, UEL, UECL)
  • 4 – Group stage bonus participation (UCL)
  • 4 – Round of 16 bonus participation (UCL)
  • 4 – Group winners (UEL)
  • 2 – Group runners-up (UEL)
  • 2 – Group winners (UECL)
  • 1 – Group runners-up (UECL)
  • 1 – Each round clubs reach from the round of 16 (UCL, UEL)
  • 1 – Each round clubs reach from the semi-finals (UECL)

The 2023/24 season is the final campaign in the current five-year period and will be crucial in deciding if the Premier League are granted an extra spot for the incoming years.

After the completion of the group stages across the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League, the Premier League is currently top of the UEFA coefficient table, with Spain (La Liga) in second, with 99 and 85 points respectively.

That would mean both England and Spain are granted a fifth league spot in the 2024/25 Champions League, however, the situation will likely evolve before the end of the 2023/24 season.

Points are earned by teams remaining in the European competition, and the Premier League have seen Manchester United and Newcastle eliminated from Europe, after bowing out at the Champions League group stage, both finishing bottom of their groups.

Six from eight Spanish sides have reached the knockout stages across those three European club tournaments, seven from seven for Italy/Serie A (currently 3rd) and six from seven for Germany/Bundesliga (4th). For English teams, it’s six from eight.

Spain, Italy and Germany are all in a position to overtake England, with the Premier League’s ability to boost its coefficient hit by those early exits. However, strong performances from Manchester City, Arsenal and others in the knockout stage could be enough to seal an extra spot in 2024/25.

Champions League new format and changes for 2024/25

The 2024/25 Champions League will involve a 36-team league with each team playing eight games — an increase of two from the previous group stage format — to decide if the qualify for the Round of 16 knockouts.

The top eight teams in the league will qualify automatically with those placed from ninth to 24th competing in two-legged playoffs to secure their place.

Who will qualify for 2024/25 Champions League?

With the coefficient table still taking shape, UEFA have confirmed which league will be receiving automatic places in the 2024/25 Champions League.

Regardless of the final coefficient placings, the Premier League’s top four from 2023/24 will qualify for the Champions League in 2024/25, with four spots also given to Spain, Germany and Italy.

The move to boost the number of teams from 32 to 36 comes via two extra spots from coefficients, an extra playoff qualifier and third place in France’s Ligue 1 being upgraded from a qualifying round spot to a place in the competition.

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