European club football governing body, UEFA, has made a new rule that guarantee automatic group stage place for all Premier League teams. Teams from Italy, Spain and Germany also benefit from the new rule
The implication of the new rule is that all four qualified English teams will now be given a direct route into the Champions League group stages alongside clubs from Italy, Germany and Spain, as well as the current holders of the European Cup and the Europa League. But sides from lesser leagues will still have to play off.
Also part of the new rules is the scraping of traditional kick-off times in the Champions League starting from next season.
European football’s governing body have announced that from the 2018/19 season, start times will be shuffled between 5.55pm and 8pm, similar to the current Europa League format.