The European Super League has been quashed but the race is very much on to qualify for the Champions League, Europa League, or the new Europa Conference League.
Here’s how qualification works – and why the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup winners make a difference to those chasing qualification through the Premier League.
It gets a little complicated but keep in mind, the maximum number of English teams in UEFA competitions is seven…
Champions League qualification
The top four teams in the Premier League qualify for the group stages of the Champions League.
Winning the Champions League or Europa League also guarantees a place in the group stages. Up to five English teams can qualify for the Champions League through these two methods.
How fourth place may not guarantee a Champions League place…
There is only one scenario that could play out and mean the fourth placed finisher misses out on Champions League football.
It would occur if Chelsea finish outside the top four and win the Champions League and Arsenal finish outside the top four and win the Europa League.
UEFA regulations were updated in 2013 to state that no more than five teams from the same league can compete in Europe’s premier competition. And in this scenario preference would be given to the winners of the major competitions rather than the fourth placed team, who would then qualify for the Europa League instead.
Europa League and Europa Conference League qualification
There are two Europa League spots available to English clubs. One goes to the team which finishes fifth in the Premier League, the second goes to the side which wins the FA Cup.
As well as the Champions League and the Europa League, the Europa Conference League launches next season.
The idea behind the Europa Conference League is to give more clubs a taste of European football, particularly sides from countries which struggle to qualify for the other two UEFA competitions. But there’s a spot up for grabs for English clubs, too.
The winner of the Carabao Cup will qualify for the Europa Conference League play-off round.
Here’s where it gets complicated…
Chelsea face Leicester in the FA Cup final and both of those sides are currently in the top four in the Premier League. If they stay there, they’ll qualify for the Champions League, meaning the Europa League qualifying spot for winning the FA Cup will be passed on to the next highest-ranked Premier League side which hasn’t qualified for a UEFA competition.
If the winner of the Carabao Cup – Manchester City or Tottenham – qualifies for either the Champions League or Europa League, their place in the Europa Conference League is passed on to the next highest-ranked Premier League side which hasn’t qualified for a UEFA competition.
That could be sixth or seventh, depending on where Chelsea and Leicester finish in the Premier League, or if Chelsea win the Champions League.
However, if, for instance, Tottenham win the Carabao Cup and then fail to finish in a European qualifying spot in the Premier League, they will be able to take up that Europa Conference League qualifying place.