Do Europa League winners qualify for the Champions League group stage?
Wednesday, 15 March 2023
Since 2014/15, the UEFA Europa League winners have earned a significant bonus prize: a place in the following season's UEFA Champions League.
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Are Europa League winners guaranteed a Champions League place?
Since 2017/18 – for access to the 2018/19 competition – the Europa League winners have been assured of a spot in the Champions League group stage. For the previous three campaigns, Europa League winners were guaranteed only a place in the play-offs, going straight into the group stage if either they or the Champions League holders had already qualified via their domestic league. That, in fact, happened in all three seasons that rule existed.
What if the winners have already qualified via their domestic league?
If the Europa League winners have already qualified for the Champions League group stage via their domestic league, the third-placed team of the fifth-ranked association – currently France – enters the group stage.
This happened three seasons running between 2017/18 and 2019/20: Europa League winners Atlético de Madrid, Chelsea and Sevilla had already qualified via their domestic league, meaning France duly gained another group stage ticket.
Who has benefited so far?
2014/15: Winners Sevilla (finished fifth in Liga)
2015/16: Winners Sevilla (seventh in Liga)
2016/17: Winners Man United (sixth in Premier League)
2017/18: Lyon (winners Atlético qualified via league)
2018/19: Lyon (winners Chelsea qualified via league)
2019/20: Rennes (winners Sevilla qualified via league)
2020/21: Winners Villarreal (seventh in Liga)
2021/22: Winners Frankfurt (11th in Bundesliga)
Please note that the associations' allocation of places may change. In addition, the conclusive access list is subject to UEFA's final approval.
Europa League prize money
The Europa League winners receive €4m, in addition to the €4.6m they and the runners-up receive for reaching the final. A team that starts the competition in the group stage and wins every game could be in line for €22.91m, even before coefficient-based amounts and market pool shares are added.