UEFA make the move to stir more interest in the tournament.
UEFA have announced that as of 2015 the winners of the Europa League will automatically qualify for the Champions League the following season.
After months of talks by European football’s top governing body, they came to the decision in an effort to boost interest in the second-string competition.
In recent years some teams competing in the Europa League have been seen to be fielding weaker sides in the tournament in order to rest their key players for league matches.
This has never been an issue in the Champions League and by bringing in this new initiative UEFA are hoping the competition will be taken more seriously.
Another factor that influenced the decision was the close-run race for the top four in the English Premier League.
For the second season running Tottenham missed out on Champions League qualification – finishing the year one point behind fourth-placed Arsenal in 2012/13.
The previous campaign, despite ending up in fourth, Spurs were demoted to the Europa League after sixth-placed Chelsea took their place in the Champions league courtesy of winning the tournament.
These close finishes have prompted UEFA to rethink the merits of playing in the Europa League, with most sides only turning their attention to it once Champions League football is no longer an option.
Currently the side that finishes third in the group stages of the top European competition goes into the Europa League and this season’s final – a 1-2 win for Chelsea over Benfica – saw two teams who had qualified in just that manner.