Leicester to be placed in top Champions League pot if they win Premier League

Leicester City will reserve a spot in Pot 1 of the Champions League group stage draw next season if they win the Premier League.

The league leaders, who are seven points clear of second-placed Tottenham with six games remaining, look set to venture into Europe's premier club competition for the first time in their history, and after recent rule changes could avoid the continent's top sides.

Prior to the 2015/16 season, the top eight seeds were ordered by the coefficients of the competing clubs, but as of the current campaign, league champions from Europe's top seven associations will be placed directly into Pot 1.

Leicester players mob Riyad Mahrez after his winning goal against Crystal Palace
Image: Leicester are seven points clear of second-placed Tottenham

If Leicester win the Premier League, as it stands across Europe they would avoid being drawn against the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus, who are all currently leading their domestic leagues.

The top seven associations, according to UEFA's coefficients rankings, are Spain, Germany, England, Italy, Portugal, France and Russia.

The remaining eighth place is given to the Champions League winners, though if that club has already won their domestic league, the slot goes to the winners of the association ranked eighth in the coefficient, currently Ukraine.

Claudio Ranieri celebrates
Image: It would be Leicester's first-ever appearance in Europe's elite competition

Pot 1 for 2016/17 Champions League group stage as it stands

  • Barcelona
  • PSG
  • Bayern Munich
  • Leicester City
  • Juventus
  • Benfica
  • Rostov
  • Champions League winners or leader of eighth-ranked UEFA association (currently Dynamo Kiev)

This means that if Manchester City win the Champions League, Pep Guardiola's new side would be directly placed into Pot 1 of the group stage draw, alongside the winner of the Premier League.

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If Leicester finish second or third in the Premier League, a direct route to the Champions League group stage would be guaranteed, but the Foxes would most likely face the toughest draw due to their lack of European experience.

While Pot 1 is decided by domestic league triumph, Pots 2, 3 and 4 are sorted by UEFA's club coefficient ranking.

Manchester City players celebrate after sealing a 3-1 aggregate win over Dynamo Kiev
Image: Manchester City face PSG in the last eight of the Champions League
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Leicester have not been in Europe since their UEFA Cup appearance in 2000, meaning they would likely be placed in Pot 4.

If Leicester finish fourth in the Premier League come the final day on May 15, they would have to fight through a Champions League play-off to reach the group stage.

Under the previous rules, the Premier League would have been preparing for an absence of teams in Pot 1 of the draw for the 2016/17 Champions League, with only Chelsea currently ranked in the top eight in UEFA's club coefficient.

Luis Suarez celebrates Lionel Messi and Neymar
Image: Leicester could avoid the likes of Barcelona in next year's Champions League

With the Blues seemingly out of top-four contention, the eight seeded teams would have been Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Benfica, PSG, Borussia Dortmund and Juventus, with Arsenal the next English team in the ranking in 10th.

Manchester City are currently ranked 13th, Manchester United 20th, and Tottenham 22nd. The ranking is based on the previous five years of form in both the Champions League and Europa League, using a points system for qualification, wins and draws. 

City face PSG in the last eight of the Champions League next month, and are England's last remaining team in the competition.

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