How many Premier League clubs qualify for Europe? Champions League, Europa League & Europa Conference League spots explained
It's common knowledge that the Premier League top-four qualify for a place in the prestigious Champions League group stage in the following season, but there are other European spots to play for as well, and via multiple routes.
Places in the Europa League and Europa Conference League are also up for grabs, constituting the European second and third-tier club competitions, respectively.
And if not for the league standings, cup competitions such as the FA Cup and Carabao Cup can also offer a route to European football.
So here, GOAL looks at which Premier League clubs can make it to which competition in the continent.
How many Premier League clubs qualify for Europe?
To put it simply, by means of league position or by winning the FA Cup or Carabao Cup, seven Premier League clubs qualify for Europe.
However, there are special considerations for the European titleholders in the Champions League, Europa League and Conference League.
Which Premier League places will qualify for Europe?
In a typical set of conditions, the following Premier League clubs will qualify for Europe:
The teams finishing in the top four make it to the Champions League group stage proper in the next season.
The fifth-placed Premier League side will be absorbed into the Europa League group stage proper and can be joined by the winners of the FA Cup.
Whereas Carabao Cup winners book their place in the Conference League play-offs.
How can 10 Premier League clubs ever qualify for Europe?
Needless to say this has never happened and lest it should with a mindboggling turn of events, it can technically happen only when none of the three European titleholders finishes in the European places in the Premier League.
What this essentially means is that, if a team from outside the European places in the league is successful in Europe, the teams finishing in the top five besides the FA Cup winner and Carabao Cup winner, who master the play-offs, will not get affected by their respective places in Europe in the next season.
Can sixth in the Premier League qualify for Europe?
Yes. Should the FA Cup winners finish in the Premier League top-five, their Europa League group stage ticket will be handed over to the next-highest-ranked team in the league that has not qualified for Europe. Let's call this situation 'x'.
Can seventh in the Premier League qualify for Europe?
Also yes. If the Carabao Cup winners finish in the Premier League top-five, or top-six in case of situation 'x', their Conference League play-off opportunity trickles down to the next-highest ranked team in the Premier League that has also not qualified for Europe.
Can eighth in the Premier League qualify for Europe?
Well, no. Another team's success in Europe does not offer the eighth-placed team in the Premier League a pass to either European competition.
On the other hand, referring to the above conditions, a team may be in any position in the Premier League - for that matter even get relegated - and can still qualify for Europe in the next season by means of winning a domestic cup competition or a European title.
How many Premier League clubs can qualify for the Champions League?
A total of five Premier League teams can qualify for the Champions League group stage proper. This is possible if a Premier League side who has not finished in the top four wins the European top-flight competition.
The other possibility of five Premier League clubs making it to the Champions League group stage is when an English top-flight team from outside the top four wins the Europa League.
In the event a Premier League top-four club wins the Conference League, they would not play in the Europa League proper as otherwise but in the Champions League group stage proper.
What if Premier League clubs from outside the top four win the Champions League AND Europa League?
This one is going to be a bummer for the club finishing fourth in the Premier League.
If one Premier League club wins the Champions League and another the Europa League and neither of them finish in the Premier League top-four, the fourth-placed Premier League club drop to the Europa League group stage.
Let's name this case of the fourth-placed Premier League club demoted to the Europa League by fate, situation 'y'.
How many Premier League clubs can qualify for the Europa League?
Going by situation 'y', the fourth-placed Premier League club's newfound spot in the Europa League group stage will be in addition to the team finishing fifth and the FA Cup winner.
However, the winner of the Conference League who has not qualified for the Europa League via a Premier League top-four finish or by winning the FA Cup may also be added as an additional club in the Europa League group stage.
So that brings us to a total of four Premier League clubs possibly playing in the Europa League group stage next season.
How many Premier League clubs can qualify for the Europa Conference League?
Given that the Conference League winners qualify for the Europa League in the next season, and considering all the above permutations, one Premier League club can qualify for the Conference League in terms of winning the Carabao Cup to earn themselves a berth in the playoffs.
And if the Carabao Cup winner finish higher than sixth in the Premier League, the next highest-ranked Premier League club that has not qualified for Europe should be preparing for the Conference League play-offs.
How many Premier League clubs qualified for Europe for 2022-23?
It was the usual number of seven Premier League clubs that qualified for the 2022-23 edition of the European competitions.
The 2021-22 Premier League champions Manchester City were joined by Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham among those who finished in the top four to play in the Champions League group stage.
Arsenal were two points shy in fifth and had to settle for a place in the Europa League group stage.
As Liverpool had confirmed a Europa League spot by winning the FA Cup, but later guaranteed their place in the Champions League based on their standing, sixth-placed Manchester United were offered the slot that was to be given to the FA Cup winner.
And with Liverpool doing a domestic double by winning the Carabao Cup, too, the next best-ranked Premier League club or seventh-placed West Ham were in luck to play the Conference League play-offs.