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Newcastle miss out on Europe, Chelsea in Conference League as Man United win FA Cup

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Manchester United will play in next season’s Europa League following their FA Cup final victory, with Chelsea dropping to the third-tier Conference League and Newcastle United missing out on European football entirely.

Manchester United’s eighth-placed Premier League finish was their lowest final top-flight league position since 1990 and insufficient to qualify for European football, but today’s 2-1 win at Wembley over Premier League champions Manchester City has ensured passage into the Europa League as FA Cup winners.

The Premier League has seven European spots for the 2024-25 season: four teams in the Champions League, two places for the Europa League and one for the Conference League.

The four Champions League sides all qualified courtesy of their Premier League finishes, with the top four comprising of title winners City, runners-up Arsenal, Liverpool in third place and Aston Villa in fourth — the latter of whom are in Europe’s premier club competition for the first time since 1982-83.

Two places are given to English sides in each season’s Europa League. One goes to the FA Cup winners, if they did not also get a top-four spot in the Premier League, and the other to the team who finish fifth.


Manchester United defeated Manchester City in Saturday’s FA Cup final (Getty Images)

Due to Manchester United winning the FA Cup and not finishing in the top six, they have qualified for the Europa League alongside Tottenham Hotspur, who finished fifth in the league.

Only one English team plays in the Conference League each season.

The rules state that the Carabao Cup winners are given that Conference League spot. But, in every season since Europe’s third-tier club competition started in 2021, that place has been deferred to the Premier League table because of the Carabao Cup winners also finishing in the top six, and therefore securing a spot in the Europa League or the Champions League via their league position.

Chelsea, who finished sixth in the Premier League, will play in the Conference League due to United’s FA Cup win while seventh-placed Newcastle now miss out on Europe altogether, due to the cup success by Erik ten Hag’s side.

Chelsea will play in the Conference League rather than Europa League due to Man Utd's FA Cup success (Michael Regan/Getty Images)


Chelsea will play in the Conference League rather than the Europa League due to Manchester United’s FA Cup success (Michael Regan/Getty Images)

What about INEOS owning Manchester United and Nice in the same competition?

French club Nice are, like Manchester United, owned by INEOS and Sir Jim Ratcliffe. Nice finished fifth in Ligue 1 this season, meaning they qualified for next season’s Europa League.

UEFA, European football’s governing body, has rules designed to prevent matches between clubs with ties to each other, to maintain the integrity of the competition concerned, but as ever, there are caveats. For United and Nice to play in the same competition, UEFA will have to be sufficiently satisfied that they are separate entities.

The relevant section in UEFA’s rulebook is Article Five, which states that no individual or legal entity can have “control or influence” over more than one club participating in a UEFA competition.

Ratcliffe may only be a minority shareholder in United — with his stake eventually set to rise to 29 per cent — but his £1.3billion investment will also see INEOS assume control of football operations at Old Trafford.

The two clubs’ ability to participate would then depend on whether UEFA’s club financial control body (CFCB) decides Ratcliffe and INEOS have a “decisive influence” over decision-making at Old Trafford. If it does, one of United or Nice would have to drop out.

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Premier League teams in European football 2024-25 season

Champions League: Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Aston Villa

Europa League: Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United

Conference League: Chelsea.

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(Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

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