25 May 2013

Europa League winners to get Champions League place

6:14 am on 25 May 2013

The winners of the Europa League football competition in 2015 will qualify for the Champions League the following season.

Sixteen teams rather than the current six will also qualify directly for the group stages of UEFA's secondary competition in a bid to boost its prestige and attraction to sponsors.

The decision was taken after detailed discussions between the European Club Association comprising Europe's top clubs and UEFA and the change will come into affect after the current TV contract for the Champions League expires in 2015.

The Europa League has long been seen as an also-ran competition for clubs missing out on the Champions League.

The change announced by UEFA means clubs taking part in the Europa League may treat it more seriously and field stronger teams because it offers a path into the elite competition the following season.