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So what happens to Manchester City’s Champions League spot?

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The big question

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FC Basel v Manchester City - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Manchester City have been banned from European competition for the next two seasons, which, at least for next season, most likely pertains to the Champions League.

While City will undoubtedly appeal — they’re the victims here, they’ll have you know! — if UEFA follow the precedent set by FIFA’s handling of Chelsea’s transfer ban case, they will not suspend the punishment during the appeals process (obviously not quite the same thing, but similar process maybe?).

So, assuming that City are out for at least next season, but finish in the top-four, which they presumably will do, who qualifies for the Champions League from England?

The Guardian believe that England would still retain four spots total, and would thus hand a golden ticket to the fifth place team in the league. Congrats, Sheffield United!

Obviously, Chelsea’s prospect thus improve as well, especially as our grip on fourth place continues to slip slowly but steadily (pending upcoming results).

This seems to be UEFA’s standard process whenever a potential qualifier is forced to miss out on a European berth due to either financial irregularities (Galatasaray in 2016 for example) or club-licensing problems (mostly seen in “smaller” leagues).

It’s slightly different than how UEFA handle teams qualifying via multiple routes, such as this season, when both Liverpool and Chelsea essentially qualified twice — once through the league and once by winning a European trophy. In that case, England didn’t get two extra spots. Instead, everybody else essentially moved up one, with teams lower down the coefficient list benefitting greatly by getting to enter later rounds of their respective competitions. You’re welcome, Olympique Lyonnais!

There many factors still to play into this — City’s appeal; City’s potential points deduction by the Premier League (you lied to UEFA, you must’ve lied to us, too!); Chelsea’s own results; etc. — but right now, the rest of the Premier League will, for once, benefit from City’s sins.