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.
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This season is the third in which the winners of the UEFA Europa League will gain automatic entry into the UEFA Champions League.
Who has benefited so far?
Sevilla and Sevilla! They took the berth last season despite finishing fifth in the Liga in 2014/15, meaning Spain had a record five teams in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League group stage. Another UEFA Europa League triumph in Basel last May meant the Andalusian side, only seventh in the Liga, again took a group stage spot this campaign.
Where the winners enter
• The UEFA Champions League winners enter in the UEFA Champions League group stage as normal.
• The UEFA Europa League winners enter in the UEFA Champions League (at a minimum level of the play-offs).
• The UEFA Europa League winners enter in the group stage if the UEFA Champions League winners qualify directly for the UEFA Champions League group stage via their domestic league programme. This is what happened the past two seasons after success for Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Maximum of five
• No more than five clubs can enter the UEFA Champions League from one national association.
How it impacts associations' allocations
• It is possible for a country with a potential three UEFA Champions League places to up this number to five, a country with two places to increase to four, or a country with one place to raise it to three. This can only happen if the association in question has two clubs who win both major European club competitions but that also do not qualify via their own league.*
• Regarding the top three associations (currently Spain, Germany and England): if two clubs from one of these countries win the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, and neither finish their domestic league in a position that qualifies them for the UEFA Champions League, the following will happen:
– The club that won the UEFA Champions League will go straight into the group stage.
– The UEFA Europa League winners will go into the UEFA Champions League play-offs.
– The club that had qualified for a UEFA Champions League play-off spot via their domestic league competition (i.e. finished fourth) transfer to the UEFA Europa League.
*Please note that the associations' allocation of places may change. In addition, the conclusive access list is subject to UEFA's final approval.