Major changes made to Champions League and Europa League

Updated: March 2, 2018
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo

UEFA have announced changes to the Champions League and Europa League from next season.

The Champions League winners and Europa League champions will automatically qualify while a maximum of five teams from the one league can qualify for Europe’s elite club competition.

As a result only six remaining places will be up for grabs in the qualification process to reach the group stages.

The Irish champions will again attempt to qualify for the group stages via the Champions Route with four teams progressing following a range of qualifying rounds.

As things stand the Irish champions will be entered into the first qualifying round and will need to progress through three further rounds to gain one of the four places on offer.

In a boost to the Premier League, the top four teams will qualify automatically for the group stages as will teams from Italy, Germany and Spain with two teams qualifying for the Europa League.

The change means the fourth-placed team from the Premier League will no long have to come through a qualifier to reach the group stages while there will be 26 automatic qualifiers an increase on the current 22.

Every team eliminated from the Champions League qualifiers will get a chance to qualify for the Europa League with ten teams entering the competition via this route.

Traditionally matches in the Champions League kick off at 7.45pm but from the start of the 2018-19 season they will be starting at 5.55pm or 8pm which is similar to the Europa League.

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