Do Carabao Cup winners qualify for Europe? Rules explained ahead of tournament semi-finals

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
All you need to know about the Carabao Cup winner’s hopes of qualifying for European football

The final rounds of the Carabao Cup promise to be exciting this year after Manchester City were knocked out by Southampton in the quarter-finals. Pep Guardiola’s side have won six of the last nine finals and it hasn’t been won by a team outside the ‘Big Six’ since Swansea City in 2013.

However, it looks very likely that a Premier League side could cause another upset this time round, with Manchester United currently the only ‘Big Six’ club left. The Red Devils are set to take on Nottingham Forest in the first leg of the semi-final at the end of the month, while Newcastle United will face Southampton.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A potential win for the Magpies at Wembley Stadium in February would prove to be a pivotal moment in the start of their new era, having not won a major trophy since their FA Cup success in 1955. Though their brilliant season might not finish there as they look to compete for a spot in the Champions League.

But would Newcastle, Man United, Southampton or Nottingham Forest be guaranteed a place in Europe if they won the Carabao Cup anyway? We take a look...

Do the Carabao Cup winners qualify for Europe?

Yes, the winners of the Carabao Cup will automatically qualify for a place in the Europa Conference League play-off round. Previously, the winner would compete in the Europa League, however the rule was changed following the introduction of the third-tier competition in the 2020-21 campaign.

The likes of Young Boys, Anderlecht and Nice took part in the Europa Conference League play-offs this season, with West Ham also qualifying as they finished seventh in the Premier League table. The position in the tournament is supposed to go to sixth place, however because the FA Cup winner (Liverpool) finished in the top five, sixth place became a Europa League spot and seventh place became a Europa Conference League spot.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

What happens if the Carabao Cup winner has already qualified for Europe?

This is only likely to be the case if either Manchester United or potentially Newcastle United win the Carabao Cup, but the rules of qualification will change if the winner has already claimed a European spot through their league finish. If the Cup winner places in the top five or wins either the Champions League or Euopa League then the Europa Conference spot will instead go to the highest-placed Premier League side that has not already qualified.

For example, if Manchester United win the Carabao Cup next month then go on to qualify for the Champions League (or Europa League), then their place in the Europa Conference League will go to whoever finishes in seventh place. They would join the sixth-place team who will automatically qualify for the tournament.

Previous Carabao Cup winners (2000-2022)

• Leicester City (vs Tranmere Rovers)

• Liverpool (vs Birmingham City)

• Blackburn Rovers (vs Tottenham Hotspur)

• Liverpool (vs Man Utd)

• Middlesbrough (vs Bolton Wanderers)

• Chelsea (vs Liverpool)

• Man Utd (vs Wigan Athletic)

• Chelsea (vs Arsenal)

• Tottenham Hotspur (vs Chelsea)

• Man Utd (vs Tottenham Hotspur)

• Man Utd (vs Aston Villa)

• Birmingham City (vs Arsenal)

• Liverpool (vs Cardiff City)

• Swansea City (vs Bradford City)

• Man City (vs Sunderland)

• Chelsea (vs Tottenham Hotspur)

• Man City (vs Liverpool)

• Man United (vs Southampton)

• Man City (vs Arsenal)

• Man City (vs Chelsea)

• Man City (vs Aston Villa)

• Man City (vs Tottenham Hotspur)

• Liverpool (vs Chelsea)

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.