IT’S do or die for Arsenal as they face London rivals Chelsea in the Europa League final needing a win to qualify for the Champions League next season.
The Gunners failed to make it to the tournament via the league route after a 1-1 draw with Brighton on the penultimate day of the season ended their top four hopes.
But what happens if Chelsea triumph in the Europa League final?
Who qualifies for the Champions League if Chelsea win the Europa League?
According to Uefa Champions League rule 3.04b: “A vacancy created by the UEFA Europa League titleholder is filled by the third placed club of the association ranked fifth in the access list and the league path is rebalanced accordingly with priority given to the club of the best ranked association of the respective round in the access list.”
The fifth placed association in Europe is currently France.
Lyon came third in this year’s Ligue 1 and would therefore take the automatic Champions League group place left vacant if Arsenal lose to Chelsea.
PSV would then take Lyon’s place in the play-off round rather than having to enter via the third qualifying round.
In turn, Croatian runners-up Rijeka would move from the Europa League to the third qualifying round.
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Is there any way Arsenal can qualify for the Champions League without winning the Europa League?
Arsenal’s failure to finish in the top four of the Premier League means there is no way Arsenal can qualify for the Champions League without winning the Europa League, under normal circumstances.
However, the Gunners will qualify in the unlikely event that Man City are handed a European ban for breaching Financial Fair Play rules.
But this looks a very long shot as Pep Guardiola’s men are unlikely to be sanctions until next season, meaning a ban wouldn’t take effect until the 2020/21 Champions League.