What happens if Chelsea wins the Champions League? Qualification rules and fifth place explained
Chelsea will play Manchester City in an all-English Champions League final on Saturday 29 May.
It will be the third time that two Premier League sides have met in the biggest game in European club football, following the 2008 clash between Manchester United and Chelsea and the 2019 final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
And it could have an impact on Champions League qualification from the Premier League, with five teams still in the race for a top four finish.
Champions Manchester City and Man United are guaranteed to finish in the top four, with Leicester City, Chelsea and Liverpool vying for the final two spots.
Liverpool’s win over Man United on Thursday, which came on the back of Chelsea’s defeat against Arsenal, has made the race a lot closer – even more so after their last-gasp win against West Brom on Sunday.
The outcome of the Champions League final could have huge implications on that race, as could the outcome of the Europa League, which has Manchester United taking on Valencia in the final. The winner of the Europa League gains automatic entry into the Champions League.
Here’s a breakdown of the possible scenarios around European qualification.
Manchester City win the Champions League
England is allocated four spots in the 32-team Champions League, while an extra spot is reserved for the winner of the competition – but only if they fail to qualify through their domestic league.
So, with Manchester City’s top-four spot already secured, England would not receive an additional qualification berth if City were to win the Champions League.
Chelsea win the Champions League, and finish in the top four
Again, this would have not affect the Premier League. England would remain with four spots for next season’s competition, and the fifth place team in the Premier League would go straight into the Europa League group stages.
Chelsea win the Champions League, but finish outside the top four
Chelsea would qualify for the Champions League, and England would have five teams in next season’s competition. The fourth place team in the Premier League would retain their qualification to the Champions League.
Chelsea win the Champions League and finish in the top four; Man United win the Europa League
England would have four teams in next season’s competition, with fifth place going into the Europa League.
If a team wins the Europa League and finishes in the top four, as would be the case with Man United, their qualification for the UCL through their league position is not transferred to another team.
Chelsea win the Champions League but finish outside the top four; Man United win the Europa League
Chelsea would qualify for the Champions League, and England would have five teams in next season’s competition.
Who qualifies for the Europa League?
This season there are only two Europa League spots, because of the introduction of the Europa Conference League.
That is the winner of the FA Cup and the team which finishes fifth in the Premier League. Leicester won the FA Cup – if they finish in the top five, as seems likely, then sixth place qualifies for the Europa League.