We might not be finishing fourth these days, but just in case we start again, it’s nice to know that we will likely no longer have to play a qualifying match thanks to some reported changes coming our way in the Champions League.
UEFA are on the verge of approving new regulations that will favour the big leagues (shocker) allowing all four places at the top of those divisions an automatic group stage place so that UEFA don’t have to worry about one of their big hitters being eliminated before they get to the main table.
When approved, the new rules will come in for the 2018/19 season and it is believed that approval could come later in August.
The top leagues in this instance will be Spain, Germany, Italy and, obviously, England.
Of course, these decisions screw the smaller leagues and are completely dictated by financial policy and the will of sponsors to see teams like Bayern Munich and Barca play rather than the less glamourous names who have just as much right to be there as anyone else. In fact, many of them have more right than all of the teams who don’t win one of the big leagues. It is, after all, the Champions League.
Arsenal have had much experience with the qualifiers and, despite always making it through, they faced some hairy moments. Those will be no more.