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Could the Premier League lose a Champions League spot?

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Winning a place in the Champions League is the real prize in the Premier League these days.  With Chelsea seemingly champions-elect, all the focus is on which teams will be able to qualify.  

The Europa League is not a consolation prize, but more of a punishment.   It involves a gruelling season of long trips to little known teams in obscure countries.   It has probably held Everton back this season. Southampton fans I know are dreading a trip to Kazakhstan.

So could the poor performance of Premiership teams this season lead to the loss of one of the places? The Champions League is the key to earning really big money, not so much because of the prize money and broadcasting revenue, but because it helps to attract really lucrative commercial sponsorships (think Manchester United).

So is a place in danger?   The short answer is no, at least not for a few years and Italian teams would need to do really well in both competitions (the Europa League counts towards the coefficient).   If you want to know more about the coefficient, which Arsene Wenger sometimes parades as a substitute for a trophy, you can read all about it here.