UEFA Europa League further strengthened for 2015-18 cycle

Winners to qualify automatically for UEFA Champions League while commercial rights are fully centralised from group stage

Winners to qualify automatically for UEFA Champions League while commercial rights are fully centralised from group stage

The UEFA Executive Committee has approved changes to the access list of the UEFA club competitions for the 2015-18 cycle at its meeting in London this week.

The UEFA Europa League winners will be granted access to the play-offs of the subsequent UEFA Champions League season. The UEFA Europa League winners could even gain direct access to the group stage, should the UEFA Champions League title-holders also qualify via their domestic league, thus freeing up a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage. As an effect of the UEFA Europa League winners qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, the current limit of a maximum four teams per association will be increased to five.

Further changes were made to the access list, whereby, in principle, all associations will now have a maximum three teams entering the UEFA Europa League. In addition, the number of teams directly qualified for the group stage will be increased to 16 teams from the top 12 associations (compared to the current six teams from the top six associations).

The UEFA Executive Committee also approved the full centralisation of commercial rights as from the group stage onwards (compared to the current full centralisation from the knock-out stage onwards).

“As was proven with this year’s magnificent final, the UEFA Europa League has gone from strength to strength, but we wanted to give clubs a further incentive, so that all of them play with a desire to win the competition,” UEFA President Michel Platini said. “By guaranteeing access to the UEFA Champions League for the winners, we are convinced that the UEFA Europa League will increase its appeal for clubs and their supporters.”

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