European places in Premier League for 2022-2023: Full breakdown of qualification scenarios
The number of Premier League teams to qualify to each of the 2022-23 European cup competitions was momentarily in flux based on the outcome of the continental tournaments during the current campaign. But with West Ham United and Leicester City both eliminated from their respective European competitions, the picture for Premier League teams is now clear.
There were a number of scenarios at play depending on whether West Ham potentially won the Europa League or Leicester City came away with the inaugural Conference League trophy. Since both fell short at the semifinal stage, those permutations have also disappeared.
The Premier League will still have a crack at one European trophy in 2021-22 with Liverpool facing Spanish giants Real Madrid for the UEFA Champions League title on May 28.
The Sporting News outlines below how the Premier League places for each European cup competition will be determined. The berths that are granted to the winners of the FA Cup and EFL Cup (Carabao Cup) will also be reassigned, and those scenarios are explained below.
Frankfurt fans stormed the pitch to celebrate reaching the Europa League final for the first time since 1980 😲
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 5, 2022
European places in Premier League for 2022-23
As is usually the case in recent years, seven Premier League clubs will be competing in European cup competitions next season (2022-23).
The English Premier League has four Champions League places, two Europa League places, and one Europa Conference League place guaranteed prior to the start of the season.
The Champions League places are distributed to the top four Premier League finishers, the Europa League places are given to the league’s 5th-place finisher and the FA Cup winner, and the Europa Conference League place is awarded to the EFL Cup winner.
However, since both FA Cup finalists are (virtually) guaranteed a place in the Champions League based on their standings position, the Europa League slot that comes with the FA Cup victory will be assigned to the 6th-place team in the Premier League table.
Also, since Liverpool won the EFL Cup and they are already a confirmed Champions League qualifier as a top-four finisher in the Premier League, the Europa Conference League place is handed to the next team in the league table (7th place).
Here’s the summary of how the 2022-23 European places are divided in the Premier League:
- Champions League (4): Top four finishers (1st-4th) in standings
- Europa League (2): 5th & 6th place in standings
- Conference League (1): 7th place in standings
Standings table below updated as of matches on Saturday, May 7.
|@ AVL, May 10
|vs. NEW, May 8
|@ LEE, May 11
|vs. LEE, May 8
|vs. ARS, May 12
|@ CRY, May 22
|@ NOR, May 8
* = 1st through 4th place teams earn a berth in the UEFA Champions League
** = 5th & 6th place earn a UEFA Europa League berth next season
*** = 7th place will gain a Europa Conference playoff berth.
What happens if Liverpool wins the Champions League?
With Liverpool in the Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 28, but also having already clinched Champions League qualification via Premier League finish, there are questions as to whether the Reds winning the competition would potentially grant a fifth English club a chance to qualify for the 2022-23 Champions League.
That’s not the case.
If Liverpool win the Champions League and also qualify for the 2022-23 Champions League by finishing top four, the Premier League qualification berth is not passed on to another Premier League team in the table.
Instead, Liverpool’s extra berth would fall to the highest-ranked UEFA nation (by UEFA coefficient) without a guaranteed group stage place. That nation is Ukraine, which would grant the Ukrainian league champion — this year confirmed to be Shakhtar Donetsk after the suspension of the domestic league in February — a direct ticket to the Champions League group stage.
That direct ticket for Shakhtar Donetsk has already been confirmed before the 2022 final is even played. That’s because Real Madrid, Liverpool’s opponent in the May 28 title match, has also clinched a Champions League berth by finishing top in Spain’s La Liga. So Shakhtar will be earning either Liverpool’s berth or Real Madrid’s.
What are the UEFA regulations for European qualification?
UEFA has outlined in great detail what happens in each possible scenario in which a team wins a European cup competition and then also qualifies (or does not qualify) for European competition via its domestic competition.
According to Article 3.03 of the UEFA Champions League regulations:
“The UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League titleholders are guaranteed a place in the group stage even if they do not qualify for the competition through their domestic championships.
“If the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League titleholder qualifies for the UEFA Europa League or UEFA Europa Conference League through one of its domestic competitions, the number of places to which its association is entitled in the UEFA Europa League or UEFA Europa Conference League is decreased by one.”
UEFA has thought through every scenario. That same section of the rules contemplates over 10 different scenarios and what occurs in each instance.
The spirit of the UEFA rules is that spots are distributed as evenly as possible across different countries without a single nation owning a lopsided number of European berths.