How many Premier League teams are allowed in Champions League 2019-20?

Pep Guardiola Manchester City 2018-19
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The team that finishes in fourth place could be in for an unwelcome surprise if certain conditions are met

With the climax of the 2018-19 season approaching, the Premier League is likely to be able to look back on a highly successful European campaign.

England’s top flight can count four clubs in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, while in the Europa League, Arsenal and Chelsea are still going strong into the last eight of the competition.

Indeed, it is not unrealistic to suggest that both competitions could be won by English sides.

Meanwhile, the race for Champions League football in the Premier League is proving to be devilishly exciting. Liverpool and Manchester City, in first and second respectively, may be clear of the pack, but they have left the other members of the ‘Big Six’ – Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea – battling for two spots.

With the Champions League winners and Europa League winners guaranteed a place in the 2019-20 Champions League, is it possible that England could have as many as six representatives in the competition?

How do Premier League teams qualify for the Champions League?

A minimum of four teams from the Premier League are guaranteed a spot in the Champions League group stages due to the strong UEFA coefficient of the country. 

In a normal year, these sides would be the teams to finish in the top four spots in the Premier League.

The picture, however, could become more complicated if an English club wins the Champions League.

If an English club won the Champions League and went on to finish in the top four of the Premier League this season, no additional spot in the competition would be allocated to an English club.

Instead, the league winners of the association ranked 11th – Austria for the 2019-20 season - will be promoted to the group stage from their original place in the play-off.

Man Utd celebrate vs PSG, Champions League 2018-19

As a consequence, there would be a knock-on effect for champions of the highest ranked associations in earlier rounds, who would thus be promoted accordingly.

If a Premier League club won the Champions League and failed to finish in the top four domestically, however, they would be invited to play in the competition next season.

The same logic applies to the Europa League, which offers a Champions League spot to the winners. If an English team won the competition and finished in the top four, the place would be re-allocated to another country, but if they failed to secure one of those spots, they would take a place in the continent’s most prestigious competition.

Can the fourth-placed Premier League team miss out on the Champions League?

As UEFA has a restriction of five participants from each country playing in the Champions League, it is possible for the side finishing fourth in the Premier League to miss out, though only in one possible scenario.

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If the Champions League and Europa League were to be won by teams that finished outside of the top four, it would mean that the side finishing fourth would miss out on the competition.

In real terms, that means that if Chelsea were to finish fourth ahead of Manchester United and Arsenal, they would miss out on Champions League football if the Red Devils and the Gunners both won European trophies.