6th,7th,8th? European Qualification Explained

9 Apr, 2024
written by AD Hammer

 

 

6th,7th,8th? European Qualification Explained

Thanks to the win at Wolves, West Ham remain on track for qualifying for Europe again this season via our league position. Of course, we would qualify for the Champions League if we won the Europa League, which is improbable and currently around 16 to 1 against.

However, there is a little confusion over what finishing position is needed to qualify through the Premier League and hopefully this post helps clear up that complicated process for you.

Firstly, let’s dispel the myths that the top 6 placed teams qualify for Europe, or that 7th place automatically gets you Conference League. That’s not true, unless the winners of our domestic cups have otherwise qualified for Europe through the league.

Qualification works like this:

Positions 1st – 4th: Champions League
Position 5th: Europa League
FA Cup Winners: Europa League
League Cup Winners: Conference League

Therefore, as things currently stand, there are six league places up for grabs, but only because Liverpool won the League Cup and will qualify for Europe through the league. The current position looks like this:

Positions 1st – 4th: Champions League (Arsenal, Liverpool, City & Spurs)
Position 5th: Europa League (Aston Villa)
FA Cup Winners: Europa League (Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd or Coventry)
Position 6th: Conference League (Man United)

So, in short, seventh place only means qualification for Europe when both domestic cups have been won by teams in the top six. This year, that would need Man City to win the FA Cup, if not then Chelsea or Man United to win it and also finish in the top six.

That’s how things work in an ordinary season, but this is no ordinary season, as the new Champions League format starts later this year.

Therefore, two additional Champions League places are awarded to the football associations with the highest AVERAGE coefficients from this season, which could roll the league positions needed for Europe down further. To get the average, the total coefficient points for the season is divided by the total number of clubs from each country that were in Europe.

Currently Italy are leading the chase, with the averages currently looking like this:

Italy 17.714
Germany 16.357
England 16.250
France 14.75
Spain 14.437

But that only tells half the story, as when a team is knocked out they can no longer score any more points for their nation and England have more teams left in Europe right now. The (teams left/ teams started) scenario currently looks like this:

England (5/8), Italy (4/7), France (3/6), Germany (3/7), Spain (3/8).

Obviously, the further English teams go, the better chance we have of securing an extra Champions league place. Man United and Newcastle have been a hindrance to our chances, scoring only 7 and 8 points respectively, while Brighton did okay with 16 points. However, none of these three teams can add to England’s points even though they are included in the average.

West Ham have scored 18 points so far, and beating a German team in the last round and group stages was more meaningful. In both cases we stopped Freiburg, who went out with just 13 points, adding to Germany’s points. So, we’ve already done our bit for the cause.

Key games to look out for in the quarter finals are ones where an English team is playing either an Italian or German team. Not only does an English team progressing mean more points for England, but it  also hinders the countries that are currently ahead of us in the average rankings.

So, Arsenal v Bayern in the Champions league, along with Liverpool v Atalanta and West Ham v Leverkusen in the Europa League, are key matches.

In Summary

For 7th place to qualify for the Conference League:
A team that has already qualified for Europe through the league needs to win the FA Cup OR England need to get an extra Champions league spot through this season’s coefficient averages.

For 8th place to qualify for the Conference League:
A team that has already qualified for Europe through the league needs to win the FA Cup AND England need to get an extra Champions league spot through this season’s coefficient averages.

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