Big changes to Champions League qualifying announced

Big changes to Champions League qualifying announced

Europe's top four leagues will have four automatic places in the Champions League group stage from the 2018-19 season onwards, European football's governing body UEFA has announced.

UEFA announced at a press conference on Friday that Europe's leading leagues in their co-efficient rankings - currently the Premier League, Spain's LaLiga, Germany's Bundesliga and Italy's Serie A - will all have automatic qualification for top-four finishers.

Under the current system there are automatic spots for the top three English, Spanish and German clubs, with a fourth having to qualify through a play-off.

In Italy only the top two qualify automatically with third contesting a play-off, which their clubs have failed to negotiate for the last three seasons.