Massive Blow: Top four finish in upcoming season will not guarantee Arsenal Champions League qualification
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Massive Blow: Top four finish in upcoming season will not guarantee Arsenal Champions League qualification

Champions League is reportedly on the brink of a reform from the 2018/19 season onwards, wth changes to qualification rules for the top four leagues in Europe.

Under a proposed new qualification format, the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga could all be guaranteed four clubs qualifying automatically every season.

However, one new feature of the rule is that while the top three teams in each domestic league would earn a place in the group stage, the fourth would be decided on something described as ‘historical merit’, according to Gazzetta Dello Sport.

It’s not yet clear what the specifics of this will mean, but the aim is to keep in giants of the game such as Manchester United, Liverpool, and AC Milan, all of whom have been in and out of the competition in recent years due to poor showings in the league.

At Europe’s top table, however, they have all been among the most successful sides in the tournament’s history, having won 15 European Cups between them.

Still, this would be bad news for teams like Arsenal and Tottenham, who are regulars in the top four running, but who would be potentially denied a place in the Champions League for having never won the trophy itself.

Current Premier League champions Leicester City would also have to work harder to keep their place in Europe’s top club competition due to their lack of history at this level, though many anticipate that even finishing in the top four will be a huge challenge for the Foxes despite their shock title success last season.

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