In an attempt to boost the popularity of the Europa League, Uefa has announced that the 2015 Europa League winners will qualify for the following season’s Champions League.
More importantly, the Europa League winner will not take one of the designated Champions League spots that each league has, if they finish outside the Champions League qualifying spots. That means that there is the potential that Spain, Germany or England could have five teams in the Champions League at some point.
While it has not been confirmed, it is expected that the Europa League winners will go straight into the Champions League group stages.
This is just the latest tactic from Uefa to breath mew life into the Europa League. With all the media money, and money, focused on the Champions League, the Uefa League is very much a second tier competition, that many clubs view more as a hinderous.
Uefa didn’t help matters when it changed the rules so that teams who finish third in their Champions League group drop into the Europa League. No other competition in the world parachutes you into one competition after getting knocked out of something else.
This season’s Europa League final was contested between two teams who entered the competition that way, Chelsea beating Benfica 2-1 in Amsterdam.