Remarkable situation could see SEVEN Premier League clubs qualify for Champions League next season
| Last updated
Major changes are coming to the Champions League next season that could result in as many as seven Premier League teams qualifying for the competition.
Every team will play eight matches, four home and four away, but all games will be against different opponents - a format dubbed the 'Swiss Model'.
After the group stage, the top eight teams go straight to the last 16, while teams ranked between ninth and 24th in the table go into a play-off round.
There is a remarkable, if unlikely, scenario that would see seven Premier League teams qualify for the Champions League - and as many as 11 English teams compete in Europe next season.
ESPN has explained that, as has been the case in recent seasons, England's top four teams will qualify automatically for the Champions League group stage – along with the top four from Spain's LaLiga, Germany's Bundesliga and Italy's Serie A.
The two leagues that have the best coefficients this season will then get an extra place in the group stage next season.
Under the old system, a maximum of five clubs from one association could play in the Champions League.
It meant that in the event teams from the same league won the Champions League and Europa League, yet both finished outside the UCL places domestically, then the team that finished fourth in the Premier League would give up their place and drop into the Europa League.
However, it is now possible that seven English clubs could earn a place in the Champions League – the top five in the Premier League plus the winners of the Champions League and Europa League.
That also means it is possible to have 11 English teams in Europe next season: the usual allocation of seven, plus the extra Champions League place for coefficient rankings and the titleholders of all three European competitions.