UEFA Champions League: Why Premier League's fifth-place team would take Manchester City's spot

With Manchester City receiving a two-year ban from the Champions League and a hefty €30 million ban for breaking Financial Fair Play rules, it begs the question: Who will get City's spot in the Champions League next season? Will the spot go to another federation? Will it go to the English team that advances the furthest in UCL or the Europa League that has yet to qualify? 

Nope. It will go to whoever finishes in fifth place in the Premier League (assuming City remains in the top four to close out the 2019-20 season), meaning the path to UCL just got so much clearer and easier for the likes of Sheffield United, Tottenham, Manchester United, Wolverhampton, Everton and even Arsenal. 

According to the Champions League's rule 4.08, a forfeited spot goes to the next best-placed club in the top domestic championship. Here's the full rule:

A club which is not admitted to the competition is replaced by the next best-placed club in the top domestic championship of the same association, provided the new club fulfills the admission criteria.

That would mean at the moment newly promoted Sheffield United would qualify for UCL and Tottenham would make the Europa League. Here's a look at the current top 10 of the league:

  1. Liverpool, 73 points (UCL)
  2. Manchester City, 51 points (Banned)
  3. Leicester City, 49 points (UCL)
  4. Chelsea, 41 points (UCL)
  5. Sheffield United, 39 points (UCL)
  6. Tottenham, 37 points (EL)
  7. Everton, 36 points
  8. Manchester United, 35 points
  9. Wolves, 35 points
  10. Arsenal, 31 points

That instantly changes the dynamic of the season for a lot of teams. Chelsea just went from having a two-point cushion in fourth to a four-point cushion in Champions League spots. Manchester United is only four points back of a UCL spot and Everton is three points back with Carlo Ancelotti and company hitting their stride.

Even struggling Arsenal, winners of just six Premier League matches all season, are back in it with three months left in the season.

Premier League play continues this weekend with half of the league still on winter break.

CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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