Europa League winners will qualify for Champions League
Among the many issues discussed at today’s UEFA Congress in London; the full UEFA membership of Gibraltar; a ‘resolution’ on racism; budgets and financial statements; and an unusual means of qualification for the Champions League.
May 24th, 2013
Starting in 2015, the winners of the Europa League will qualify for the Play-Off round of the following season’s Champions League, in a move designed to spur more interest in Europe’s second-tier competition – both from the media covering it and the teams competing in it.
“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 has 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.”
Previous attempts to raise the profile of the competition have included the renaming from the UEFA Cup in 2009 and the changing of the format from a two-legged knockout to a group phase.
With this new change to the qualifiers comes the raising of the maximum number of Champions League entries from the same nation from four to five – in the case of the top countries that is. This is purely in case a Europa League winner or a Champions League winner finishes outside the top four in their league; in which case their entry would still be accepted.
It’s an interesting way to increase the attention lavished on the Europa League – and credit to UEFA for actually having it so that a champion would enter the competition!