Friday 26 August 2016 9:30 am

Champions League: Top four European football leagues guaranteed four places in group stages

The top four leagues in Europe will each be guaranteed four teams in the group stages of the Champions League.

The elite from England, Spain, Italy and Germany, will be given four places each in the Champions League group stages from 2018-19.

Teams from the Premiership, La Liga, Serie A and The Bundesliga have maintained their positions with four teams going through.

Read more: Champions League draw – what you need to know

Under the current system England, Spain and Germany have three guaranteed places with the fourth-placed team contesting in the play-offs for a place in the group phase. Italy has just two guaranteed places with one in the play-off.

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.”

Other changes included that the Europa League winners will automatically qualify for the Champions League group-stage.

The format for the Champions League will remain the same. After a qualifying stage, 32 teams will be drawn in eight groups of four, with 16 making it through to the knock-out stages.