Football Teams across Europe battle themselves to fight for top spots in their various leagues to qualify for the UEFA champions League.The UEFA uses a coefficient system to decide how many teams from each country gain entry into the group stages and how many must go through Champions League qualifying. The teams that occupy the top three league places in the countries ranked first through third in UEFA competition gain automatic entry into the group stages for the following season’s Champions League competition. The first- and second-place teams in the countries ranked fourth through sixth also gain automatic entry, as do the champions in the countries ranked seventh through 12th. The Champions League holders automatically get the chance to defend their title in the following season’s competition. The competition is seeded with champions league winners, releasing their uefa champions league schedule in September.
It doesn’t matter if you like football or not, most of us will have at some point heard of the phrase “Uefa Champions League.” But who is eligible to participate in this prestigious soccer tournament? And how do they get there? Jumping right in, there is a qualifying process that decides which teams are included in the group stages of the competition.
How to qualify for the uefa champions league
The number of teams each association enters into the UEFA Champions League is based upon the UEFA coefficients of the member associations. These scores are generated by the results of clubs representing each association during the previous five UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League seasons. The higher an association’s coefficient, the more teams represent the association in the Champions League and the fewer qualification rounds the association’s teams must compete in.
Since the 2009-10 season, the UEFA Champions League offers two qualification “streams” for teams that do not receive direct entry to the tournament. The two streams are divided between teams qualified by virtue of being a domestic league champion, and those qualified by virtue of being second through fourth in their domestic league. Five teams from each qualifying stream earn a place in the group stage.
The other 22 teams qualified automatically, either as the defending UCL champion, the defending UEL champion or through their respective domestic leagues. Each of the top 12 ranked associations in the UEFA coefficients are guaranteed at least one spot, with more spots being allocated the higher a league’s coefficient is.
What happens once the 32 teams qualify?
The 32 teams are split into four different “pots,” with the restriction that teams from the same association could not be drawn against each other. For the draw, the teams were seeded into four pots based on the following principles:
- Pot 1 contains the Champions League titleholders, the Europa League titleholders and the champions of the top six associations based on their UEFA coefficients. If either the Champions League or Europa League titleholders were one of the champions of the top six associations, the champions of the association ranked seventh, and possibly eighth, are also seeded into Pot 1.
- Pots 2, 3 and 4 contain the remaining teams, seeded based on their 2018 UEFA club coefficients.
Then, a team is drawn from each pot until there are eight groups of four.
A breakdown of how PL clubs can qualify for the UEFA Champions League and Europa League
Below is a breakdown of how Premier League clubs can qualify to play in UEFA competitions.
The maximum number of English teams in UEFA competitions is seven.
(Please note UEFA reserves the right to change the conditions of the access list so these criteria can be subject to change.)
UEFA Champions League (UCL) qualification
In normal circumstances, four UCL places are given to English clubs who fulfil the following criteria:
- The top four teams in the Premier League qualify for the group stage proper.
UEFA Europa League (UEL) qualification
In normal circumstances, three UEL places are given to English clubs who fulfil the following criteria:
- The fifth-placed team in the Premier League qualify for the group stage proper.
- The winners of the FA Cup qualify for the group stage proper.
- The EFL Cup winners qualify for the second qualifying round.
Where these qualifications changes
a) If the FA Cup winners finish in the top five of the Premier League, their UEL group stage place will go to the next-highest ranked team not qualified for UEFA competitions in the Premier League.
b) If the EFL Cup winners finish in the top five of the Premier League (or top six if (a) happens), their UEL second qualifying round place will go to the next-highest ranked team not qualified for UEFA competitions in the Premier League.
How does winning UCL/UEL affect qualification?
Should a Premier League club win the UEFA Champions League they will automatically qualify for the group stage of next season’s competition regardless of their league finishing position.
Should a Premier League club win the UEFA Europa League they will automatically qualify for the group stage of next season’s UEFA Champions League regardless of their league finishing position.
A maximum of five Premier League teams are eligible for UEFA Champions League qualification.
In the event that a Premier League club win the UEFA Champions League and another win the UEFA Europa League and neither of these clubs finish in the top four of the Premier League, the club lying fourth in the table will drop into the UEFA Europa League group stage.
European Champions League” and “European Cup” redirect here. For the table tennis competition, see European Champions League (table tennis). For the trophy, see European Champion Clubs’ Cup. For other uses, see European Cup (disambiguation). This article is about the men’s competition. For the women’s competition, see UEFA Women’s Champions League.
The UEFA Champions League (also known as the European Cup) is an annual club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and contested by top-division European clubs, deciding the competition winners. It is one of the most prestigious football tournaments in the world and the most prestigious club competition in European football, played by the national league champions (and, for some nations, one or more runners-up) of their national associations.
Introduced in 1955 as the European Champion Clubs’ Cup, it was initially a straight knockout tournament open only to the champion club of each national championship. The competition took on its current name in 1992, adding a round-robin group stage and allowing multiple entrants from certain countries. It has since been expanded, and while most of Europe’s national leagues can still only enter their champion, the strongest leagues now provide up to four teams. Clubs that finish next-in-line in their national league, having not qualified for the Champions League, are eligible for the second-tier UEFA Europa League competition, and from 2021, teams not eligible for the UEFA Europa League will qualify for a new third-tier competition called the UEFA Europa Conference League.
In its present format, the Champions League begins in late June with a preliminary round, three qualifying rounds and a play-off round, all played over two legs. The six surviving teams enter the group stage, joining 26 teams qualified in advance. The 32 teams are drawn into eight groups of four teams and play each other in a double round-robin system. The eight group winners and eight runners-up proceed to the knockout phase that culminates with the final match in late May or early June. The winner of the Champions League qualifies for the following year’s Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. In 2020, the traditional schedule for UEFA matches was disrupted. Those scheduled for May 2020 were postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, leaving some finals unconcluded.
The competition has been won by 22 clubs, 12 of which have won it more than once. Real Madrid is the most successful club in the tournament’s history, having won it 13 times, including its first five seasons. Liverpool are the reigning champions, having beaten Tottenham Hotspur 2–0 in the 2019 final. Spanish clubs have the highest number of victories (18 wins), followed by England (13 wins) and Italy (12 wins). England has the largest number of winning teams, with five clubs having won the title.
The first pan-European tournament was the Challenge Cup, a competition between clubs in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Mitropa Cup, a competition modelled after the Challenge Cup, was created in 1927, an idea of Austrian Hugo Meisl, and played between Central European clubs. In 1930, the Coupe des Nations (French: Nations Cup), the first attempt to create a cup for national champion clubs of Europe, was played and organised by Swiss club Servette. Held in Geneva, it brought together ten champions from across the continent. The tournament was won by Újpest of Hungary. Latin European nations came together to form the Latin Cup in 1949.
After receiving reports from his journalists over the highly successful Campeonato Sudamericano de Campeones of 1948, Gabriel Hanot, editor of L’Équipe, began proposing the creation of a continent-wide tournament. After Stan Cullis declared Wolverhampton Wanderers “Champions of the World” following a successful run of friendlies in the 1950s, in particular a 3–2 friendly victory against Budapest Honvéd, Hanot finally managed to convince UEFA to put into practice such a tournament. It was conceived in Paris in 1955 as the European Champion Clubs’ Cup.
A country’s UEFA coefficient ranking is decided by how well its teams have been doing in Europe over the previous five years. The club coefficient is determined by the results of a club in European club competition in the last five seasons and the league coefficient.
For teams that do not make it into the competition automatically, there are two qualifying routes, the Champions Route and the League Route.
The first qualifying round sees the champions of the countries ranked 50th to 53rd in UEFA competition play two two-legged ties. The two winners of those ties progress to the second qualifying round where they are joined by the champions of the 32 countries ranked 17th to 49th (except Liechtenstein).
The victorious sides from those 17 ties join the champions from the countries ranked 14th to 16th in the third qualifying round. The winners of these 10 ties go through to the playoff round. The winners of these five ties, which take place on a home-and-away basis, reach the group stages of the Champions League.
The third-placed team from the sixth-ranked member association starts in the third qualifying round alongside the runners-up from the associations ranked seventh to 15th.
The winners of these five ties go through to the playoff round, where they are joined by the fourth-placed teams from the member associations ranked first through third, and the third-placed sides from the associations ranked fourth and fifth. The teams that emerge victorious from these five ties go through to the group stages of the Champions League.
As if the Champions League rules for qualifying weren’t complicated enough, there are a few more considerations.
- Teams in the Champions Route cannot meet those in the League Route.
- Teams that lose in the third qualifying round go into the Europa League playoffs.
- The five teams that lose in the Champions League playoff round enter the Europa League group stages.
- Teams that finish third in each of the Champions League groups go into the Europa League round of 32.