UEFA’s executive committee have agreed to a major change in the rules, which shall now see the Europa League winners qualify for the Champions League automatically next season.
What the above change also means is that now a maximum of five teams can qualify for Champions League in a single season from countries like England. Which basically means that the Tottenham-Chelsea scenario, from last season, won’t be repeated. Tottenham left to feel aggrieved last time out as Chelsea won the Champions League and qualified for the competition automatically, which meant that Tottenham, despite finishing in fourth and above Chelsea, has to settle for an Europa League berth.
From next season, both the Europa league winner and the Champions League winner will qualify directly for the tournament, but it will not come at the cost of other team’s missing out. Although, if both the Europa League winner and the Champions League winner are from the same country, then the fourth placed team will miss out.
The above changes were agreed by UEFA’s executive committee yesterday and are expected to be announced at the governing body’s congress in London today.
This change will certainly bring in a more competitive edge to the Europa League, which has often been seen as nothing more than a burden by clubs across Europe. This changes comes after increased pressure from various segment of the game, who felt that the Europa league winner must be given much more of an incentive, but were also sceptical about club’s missing out from qualification despite performing well in the league.
“This is what we wanted – it is unfair for clubs who think they have qualified through their league to be denied because another club has won the Champions League or Europa League.” – The managing director of one ECA club told the Press.