How the Europa League winners enter the Champions League

There is once again the bonus of a UEFA Champions League place on offer for this season's UEFA Europa League winners – here we explain how the system works.

Manchester United earned a 2017/18 group place by winning in Stockholm
Manchester United earned a 2017/18 group place by winning in Stockholm ©AFP/Getty Images

This season is the fourth in which the winners of the UEFA Europa League will gain automatic entry into the UEFA Champions League, and the first when they know for sure they will get a group place.

Who has benefitted so far?
Sevilla twice, and Manchester United. Sevilla took the berth in 2015/16 despite finishing fifth in the Liga in 2014/15, meaning Spain had a record five teams in the UEFA Champions League group stage. Another UEFA Europa League triumph in Basel that season meant the Andalusian side, only seventh in the Liga, again took a group stage spot for 2016/17. Manchester United succeeded them as UEFA Europa League winners, and were also outside the top four in the Premier League, England having five sides in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage, and indeed round of 16.

Where the winners enter
• There is a change to the UEFA club competition qualifying system this season, but as before the UEFA Champions League winners enter in the UEFA Champions League group stage as normal.

Watch Sevilla’s 2016 triumph against Liverpool
Watch Sevilla’s 2016 triumph against Liverpool

• The UEFA Europa League winners used to be assured only a UEFA Champions League play-off place, only going straight into the group stage if either themselves or the holders had already qualified via their domestic league (which in fact always happened in the three seasons that rule existed).

• Now, however, the UEFA Europa League winners enter in the group stage regardless of any domestic league outcomes.

Maximum of five
• No more than five clubs can enter the UEFA Champions League from one national association.

•  If the UEFA Champions League winners and UEFA Europa League winners are from the same nation and both finish outside the top four of one of the four associations that gain four automatic group berths (for 2018/19 Spain, Germany, England and Italy), the team finishing fourth in that domestic league will instead go into the UEFA Europa League group stage.

*Please note that the associations' allocation of places may change. In addition, the conclusive access list is subject to UEFA's final approval.

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