The number of Premier League teams to qualify to each of the 2022-23 European cup competitions had been 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 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.
But 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 2022-23 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.
MORE: Which teams have qualified for the 2022-23 Champions League?
European places in Premier League for 2022-23
As is usually the case in recent years, a total of 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 assigned 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.
This year, the Premier League teams to secure places in the 2022-23 Champions League tournament are Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Tottenham. Arsenal just miss out and will play in the Europa League next season, finishing fifth.
However, there are some wrinkles with the other European places. Since FA Cup winners Liverpool already have a guaranteed place in the Champions League based on their standings position, the Europa League slot that comes with the FA Cup victory has been assigned to the 6th-place team in the Premier League table. That team is Manchester United.
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 that goes to the EFL Cup winner is also handed down to the next team in the league table (7th place). That team is West Ham United, who had a chance to jump Man United on the final day but fell to Brighton.
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 Sunday, May 22.
* = 1st to 4th place teams earn UEFA Champions League berth (X = clinched)
** = 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 their 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, there is no Premier League qualification berth that is passed on to another 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, thus granting the Ukrainian league champion — this year confirmed to be Shakhtar Donetsk after the suspension of the domestic league in February due to war — a direct ticket to the Champions League group stage.
That direct ticket for Shakhtar Donetsk has actually already been confirmed before the 2022 Champions League 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 the berth that belongs to either Liverpool or Real Madrid.
MORE: Who will win the Champions League, Real Madrid or Liverpool?
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 hoarding a lopsided number of European berths.