How to qualify for Europe

Earlier this week, the Rangers administrators announced that the club would not file their accounts in time to meet the UEFA deadline for competing in Europe next season, blowing the race for European places wide open.  If you support a club who are still in the race for the SPL top 6, or are still in the Scottish Cup, then you will no doubt be keen to find out how to qualify.  Everything listed below assumes that the administrators are correct, and that Rangers will not take part.

Champions League

Scotland will have two entrants in next season’s Champions League.  The allocation of these two places is simple – they will go to the two highest placed clubs in the SPL who are eligible to compete in Europe.

Celtic have already guaranteed their place -the only clubs who can still finish ahead of them this season are Rangers and Motherwell.  The second spot will go to the 2nd or 3rd placed SPL club, depending on where Rangers finish.

Europa League

The Europa League places are slightly more complicated.  There are 3 places available, and they will be allocated in the following order of preference (for simplicity’s sake, I have assumed that Rangers will finish in the top 3 of the SPL).

  • Scottish Cup Winner (if not already qualified for Champions League)
  • 4th in SPL
  • 5th in SPL
  • Scottish Cup Runner-up (if Champions League qualifiers win Cup)
  • 6th in SPL


What that means

The 4th and 5th placed clubs in the SPL are guaranteed a Europa League spot.

There is also a spot available for the winners of the Scottish Cup.  If the Scottish Cup is won by a club which qualifies for the Champions League, then the Scottish Cup runner-up will get the other available place.

6th place in the SPL can qualify in one of two ways:

  • Scottish Cup won by 4th or 5th in the SPL.
  • Scottish Cup won by Champions League qualifier, and one of the top 5 SPL clubs finish as runner-up


Hopefully that has cleared things up somewhat, but please feel free to leave any questions in the comments, and I will try to answer them.

About SPLstats
Providing statistics and trivia about Scottish football. Main focus is the SPL, but all Scottish football will be covered. Not affiliated to the SPL.

4 Responses to How to qualify for Europe

  1. sked21 says:

    Good stuff. Makes the split iteresting with most likely 4th, 5th and 6th separated by few points.

    Will you be doing one explaining the rounds the teams that qualify for Europe enter?

  2. Tracey says:

    I am afraid your understanding of the Scottish Cup entry route is incorrect. The euro space will not, under any circumstances, be awarded as a euro spot to the runner up(if winner already qualified for Europe). Instead to reverts to the 5th club in the league.

    Champions league
    1 and 2

    3 and 4

    If rangers finish 2nd but are not allowed in then the spots bump down one.

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