Football governing body UEFA has announced that Italy would get an extra qualification spot for the Champions League.
Initially, there were reports that England could lose a spot as Premier League sides struggled to impress in recent years. However, the continental football body decided to increase the slots for Italy without reshuffling the status quo.
Italy would now enjoy four spots as England, Spain, and Germany.
“Spain, Germany, England and Italy are confirmed as the top four associations regardless of what happens in the quarter finals and beyond of the two club competitions. And despite ending last season in fifth place, Portugal have fallen outside the top six and with all their clubs now out of Europe will not be able to overtake France and Russia,” a statement credited to UEFA read.
The statement revealed further that the seventh to tenth will get an automatic spot and a qualifying spot. Portugal, Ukraine, Belgium and Turkey hold these spots. The 11th and 12th Czech Rep and Switzerland would enter playoffs but are assured of at least an Europa League spot.
In club rankings, Real Madrid lead comfortably with the highest number of semifinal finish. Bayern Munich follow, then Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Juventus. The biggest leaps are Monaco – 58 to 32 – and Leicester City from unranked to 56th.
Leicester are the only English side in the last eight, after seeing off Spanish side Sevilla in en epic battle of the round of 16. If Premier League sides continue with the poor results, they could lose their spot to France.