FA are not allowed to reward FA Cup winners with Champions League spot

Following Jurgen Klopp’s refusal to be in the dug out for Liverpool’s replay against League One Shrewsbury Town, the conversations have taken place about how to “restore some pride in the FA Cup”.

The most commonly heard solution that many fans and journalists propose is to “give the winners of the FA Cup and Champions League place”.

Whilst in theory, it is a good idea, the fact is UEFA regulations do not allow for it.

UEFA have a 108 page document outlining the “Regulations of the UEFA Champions League”. Article 3 outlined “Entries for the Competition”.

3.01 UEFA member associations (hereinafter associations) may enter a certain number of clubs for the competition through their top domestic championship, in accordance with the association coefficient rankings, drawn up in accordance with Annex D. No more than four clubs may qualify for the competition through each domestic championship. These rankings also determine the associations’ positions in the access list ( Annex A), which in turn determines the stage at which each club enters the competition.

3.02 Associations are represented on the following basis:

  1. one representative: winner of the top domestic championship;
  2. two representatives: winner and runner-up of the top domestic championship;
  3. three representatives: winner, runner-up and third-placed club in the top domestic championship;
  4. four representatives: winner, runner-up, third- and fourth-placed clubs in the top domestic championship.

Gone are the days when the national association could pick their own criteria and nominate who they wanted to enter UEFA competition. UEFA now dictate who can and can not qualify.

When it comes to the Champions League, the Entries for Competition is clear – all entries must come from the top domestic championship, in the order sides finished.

Previously, the runners-up of the FA Cup would qualify for the Europa League (or UEFA Cup in old money) if the winners of the competition had already qualified for Europe. This changed in 2015, switching the place to the next best placed in the Premier League.

This denied fans of Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Wolves a place in Europe.

Like with the Champions League spots, this was to a decision made by the FA or Premier League, but one dictated to them by UEFA.

Only 104 pages in the “Regulations of the UEFA Europa League”. Again Article 3 outlines the Entries for the competition.

3.01 UEFA member associations (hereinafter associations) may enter the winner of their national cup competition (hereinafter domestic cup), as well as a certain number of other clubs for the competition through their top domestic championship, in accordance with the association coefficient rankings, drawn up in accordance with Annex D. Only one single team per club may be entered.

3.02 Associations are represented on the following basis:

  1. one representative: winner of the domestic cup;
  2. two representatives: the winner of the domestic cup and the club which finishes the top domestic championship immediately below the club which qualifies for the UEFA Champions League;
  3. three representatives: the winner of the domestic cup and the two clubs which finish the top domestic championship immediately below the club(s) which qualify for the UEFA Champions League.

3.03 In special circumstances, the winner of another official domestic competition may be entered for the UEFA Europa League in place of the lowest ranking top domestic championship representative referred to in Paragraph 3.02(c), provided such a competition has been approved by UEFA before the start of the season in question (see Annex A).

3.04 If the winner of the domestic cup qualifies for the UEFA Champions League or the UEFA Europa League via the domestic championship, the highest ranking nonqualified domestic championship club qualifies for the UEFA Europa League at the stage initially reserved for the lowest ranking top domestic championship representative. If the winner of the domestic cup qualifies for UEFA Champions League, the access stage initially reserved for the domestic cup winner is reserved for the club which finishes the domestic championship in the highest position out of all the clubs which qualify for the UEFA Europa League from the association concerned (see Annex A). In both cases each representative of the domestic championship then enters the competition at the stage initially reserved for the domestic championship representative ranked immediately above it.

So the FA and Premier League’s hands are once more tied by UEFA.

If the winner of the domestic cup qualifies for the UEFA Champions League or the UEFA Europa League via the domestic championship, the highest ranking nonqualified domestic championship club qualifies for the UEFA Europa League

UEFA have made it clear

Champions League places are rewarded on league position
Domestic cup runners up may not enter the Europa League

Keenos

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