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It’s official. UEFA has announced that the top four leagues in Europe will be given four guaranteed places in the Champions League group stage from the 2018-19 season.

According to UEFA this morning, it means that the four highest-ranked associations from Spain, Germany, England and Italy will no longer have to send teams into the qualifying rounds or play-off phase to reach the competition proper.

Full list of changes:

  • The UEFA Europa League winners will automatically qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage (currently they can potentially take part in a play-off round).
  • The top four clubs from the four top-ranked national associations will now qualify automatically for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.
  • The full details of the access list for both competitions will be finalised by the end of the year.
  • A new system for the club coefficients: clubs will be judged on their own records (deletion of the country share for individual club coefficient unless that coefficient is lower than 20% of the association’s coefficient).
  • Historical success in the competition will also be acknowledged in coefficient calculation (points for previous European titles with a weighted system for UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League titles)
  • Financial distribution to clubs will be increased significantly for both competitions.
  • A new four-pillar financial distribution system (starting fee, performance in the competition, individual club coefficient and market pool) will see sporting performances better rewarded, while market pool share will decrease.

As of the 2009-10 season qualification for the UEFA Champions League, the top four teams in the Premier League qualified for the UEFA Champions League, with the top three teams directly entering the group stage.

But as of 2018/19, the top four leagues in Europe will be given four guaranteed places. HUGE.