UEFA have confirmed that the top four European leagues – expected to be England's Premier League, Spain's La Liga, Germany's Bundesliga and Italy's Seria A – will not have any of their teams involved in play-offs to reach the group stage of the Champions League
"The top four teams from the four highest-ranked associations will enter the UEFA Champions League group stage from 2018 after new formats were confirmed for both major club competitions," UEFA announced on their official website on Friday.
"The format for the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League for 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21 have been confirmed, with no changes to the compettions system but a new procedure for entries.
"Following an extensive consultative process involving all European football stakeholders, UEFA proposed amendments which have been approved by the UEFA Executive Committee, upon recommendations of the UEFA Club Competitions Committee and the European Club Association Board.
"The UEFA Europa League winners will automatically qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage (currently they can potentially take part in a play-off round).
"The top four clubs from the four top-ranked national associations will now qualify automatically for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.
"The full details of the access list for both competitions will be finalised by the end of the year."
Speaking about the amendments agreed for the new cycle, UEFA General Secretary ad interim Theodore Theodoridis said: "The evolution of UEFA's club competitions is the result of a wide-ranging consultative process involving all stakeholders and taking into account a wide range of expertise and perspectives.
"The amendments made will continue to ensure qualification based on sporting merit, and the right of all associations and their clubs to compete in Europe's elite club competitions.
"We are happy that European football remains united behind the concepts of solidarity, fair competition, fair distribution and good governance."
England's Manchester City had to reach the group stages through the play-offs this season while Italy's Roma were eliminated by Portugal's Porto.
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