How many teams qualify for Europe? Premier League places for UEFA Champions League, Europa, Conference


As the Premier League and the various domestic and European cup competitions approach their conclusions at the end of the season, there is some confusion among fans over the distribution of European qualification places for next season.

Manchester United and Manchester City’s clash in the FA Cup final — as well as Man City and West Ham reaching European finals — are the key factors creating uncertainty for supporters looking towards 2023/24.

With one matchday left to go in the Premier League, the top nine clubs are all realistically in with a chance at qualifying for some kind of European competition next season.

The Sporting News provides a guide to the myriad of possible outcomes and who will be in Europe for the 2023/24 campaign.

MORE: Updated English Premier League table 2022/23

How many teams qualify for Europe?

There will be either seven or eight English clubs playing in Europe in 2023/24.

Champions League

The top four finishers in the Premier League earn an automatic spot in the Champions League group stage, which kicks off in September.

Premier League champions Manchester City lead the qualified teams, along with runners-up Arsenal, with Man United and Newcastle also booked in – although they’re still battling for third place.

Even if City win the Champions League final against Inter Milan, that would not result in an additional berth for the Premier League. Instead, the next ranked European nation that does not already have a direct group stage berth (Ukraine), will take the extra spot.

Europa League

There are usually two English berths in the Europa League, which go to the fifth placed team in the Premier League and the FA Cup winner. 

However, since the FA Cup winner — the finalists are City and United — has already qualified for the Champions League, then that Europa League berth is transferred to the sixth place finisher in the Premier League.

So that means Liverpool and Brighton are guaranteed to be in the Europa League next season, now locked in as fifth and sixth in the final standings respectively.

If an English team wins the Conference League — West Ham are in the final — that team would also earn a direct spot into the Europa League. So England could have a maximum three total participants in the 2023/24 Europa League.

MORE: Brighton and European football: How they qualified and have they been there before?

Conference League

There is one Europa Conference League qualifying berth that should go to the Carabao Cup winner.

But since this season’s winners (United) have qualified for the Champions League, then the spot is transferred to the next team in the Premier League table without a European berth.

Three teams — Aston Villa, Tottenham, and Brentford — are battling for seventh place and the Conference League qualifying spot. Villa are in pole position to secure the spot; they just need to equal or better their rivals’ results on the final day.

If Villa lose and Tottenham draw, Spurs would get into seventh by virtue of having scored more goals (providing Brentford don’t win). A Spurs win would be enough if Villa drop points.

If both Villa and Tottenham fail to win, three points for Brentford could see them snatch seventh spot and an unlikely place in Europe.

European places as of Friday, May 26:

Pos Team Points Matches
Next Match
1. Man City 89 37 94 +62 @ BRE, May 28
2. Arsenal 81 37 83 +40 vs. WOL, May 28
3. Man United 72 37 56 +14 vs. FUL May 28
4. Newcastle 70 37 67 +35 @ CHE, May 28
5. Liverpool 66 37 71 +28 @ SOU, May 28
6. Brighton 62 37 71 +20 @ AVL, May 28
7. Aston Villa 58 37 49 +4 vs. BRI, May 28
8. Tottenham 57 37 66 +4 @ LEE, May 28
9. Brentford 56 37 57 +11 vs. MCI, May 28

Does 8th in the Premier League qualify for Europe?

No, eighth place in the Premier League does not qualify for Europe.

A team outside the top seven can only reach Europe by winning a domestic cup (FA Cup or Carabao Cup) or one of the three European cup competitions.

Does 7th in the Premier League qualify for Europe?

Yes, seventh spot is the final placement to earn a route into Europe this year, receiving the Conference League qualifying spot.

Do the FA Cup and Carabao Cup winners qualify for Europe?

The FA Cup and Carabao Cup both come with a European berth at the start of the season.

The FA Cup winners enter the group stage of the Europa League, and the Carabao Cup winners earn a spot in Conference League qualifying.

However, if the winner of either domestic cup qualifies to a superior European competition by virtue of league position, then the European berths are transferred to the the next-highest finishing Premier League team not already in Europe.

Getty Images

European qualification permutations for English clubs

With the FA Cup, Champions League, and Conference League finals all still to be played, here are some of the permutations that could affect other clubs.

What happens if Man United win the FA Cup?

Since Manchester United have now finished inside the Premier League top four, they are guaranteed to play in the Champions League.

So the Europa League berth that is granted to the FA Cup winner will be transferred to sixth placed Brighton.

MORE: Champions League top goal scorers 2022/23

What happens if Man City win the Champions League?

Nothing would change if Manchester City win the Champions League. 

That’s because Manchester City have already qualified for next season’s Champions League by finishing in the top four of the Premier League. 

The extra Champions League spot is not filled by a Premier League club, according to competition rules. The next highest-ranked European country not already guaranteed a spot in the Champions League group stage will claim it (Ukraine).

MORE: Champions League goal records

UEFA Europa Conference League draw balls pot

Getty Images

What happens if West Ham win the Conference League?

West Ham have reached the final of the 2023 Conference League against Italian side Fiorentina.

The winner of the Conference League automatically earns a spot in the next season’s Europa League, and that will be the case of West Ham should they beat Fiorentina.

The Hammers had a poor season in the Premier League and did not finish in the top seven, so they would welcome the Conference League silverware and the European berth that comes with it for next season.

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