Image: Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

UEFA on Friday announced some major changes to the UEFA Champions League rules.

One of the changes announced includes that the top four leagues in Europe will be given four guaranteed places in the Champions League group stage from the 2018-19 season.

This means that the four highest-ranked associations from Spain, Germany, England and Italy will no longer have to send teams into the qualifying rounds or play-off phase to reach the competition proper.


  • The UEFA Europa League winners will automatically qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage (currently they can potentially take part in a play-off round).
  • The top four clubs from the four top-ranked national associations will now qualify automatically for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.
  • The full details of the access list for both competitions will be finalised by the end of the year.
  • A new system for the club coefficients: clubs will be judged on their own records (deletion of the country share for individual club coefficient unless that coefficient is lower than 20% of the association’s coefficient).
  • Historical success in the competition will also be acknowledged in coefficient calculation (points for previous European titles with a weighted system for UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League titles)
  • Financial distribution to clubs will be increased significantly for both competitions.
  • A new four-pillar financial distribution system (starting fee, performance in the competition, individual club coefficient and market pool) will see sporting performances better rewarded, while market pool share will decrease.

What doesn’t change

  • Retention of Champions and League route of qualifying in the UEFA Champions League, ensuring that clubs from all associations can enter through their domestic leagues and qualify for both competitions.
  • The UEFA Champions League will continue to have a 32-team group stage leading to a 16-club knockout phase. Similarly the UEFA Europa League remains at 48 teams.

As of the 2009-10 season qualification for the UEFA Champions League, the top four teams in the Premier League qualified for the UEFA Champions League, with the top three teams directly entering the group stage while the last take part in the play-offs to qualify.

But from 2018/19, the top four leagues in Europe will be given four guaranteed places.



Author: Timilehin Boyinde

Oluwatimilehin Boyinde is a research writer and a social media strategist. A public affairs analyst, he writes about history, politics, sports, life matters and technology. He is passionate about happenings in Local and international political arenas. He is an avid Manchester United fan and an unapologetic Nigerian.