The UEFA rule change that can see Newcastle United qualify for the Champions League this season

The Champions league is set to undergo a rebrand for the 2023-24 campaignThe Champions league is set to undergo a rebrand for the 2023-24 campaign
The Champions league is set to undergo a rebrand for the 2023-24 campaign | Getty Images
Newcastle United are currently two points behind sixth spot in the Premier League

Newcastle United could finish sixth and still qualify for the Champions League next season.

Many fans had given up on replicating last year’s top-four heroics - an achievement that placed the Magpies among Europe’s elite for the first time in 20 years. Eddie Howe punched Newcastle above their weight, with several players fighting relegation two seasons ago taking on continental heavyweights.

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Financial restrictions prevented Newcastle from drastically bolstering their ranks and, as a result, they have suffered a dip in form. The Magpies currently sit eighth in the Premier League - two points behind sixth-placed Manchester United.

Qualifying for Europe this season would be considered a success and keep the revenue streams flowing at St James’ Park. However, an unexpected UEFA rule change could result in Newcastle regaining their Champions League status.

English clubs are fighting with their European counterparts for an extra Champions League spot. UEFA’s elite sporting competition is undergoing a rebrand next season and a newly-formed coefficient ranks clubs based on performance for 2023-24.

As it stands, England trail Italy and Germany - with two extra spots available - but that could change before the end of the campaign. Should Premier League clubs leapfrog either nation, a fifth-placed finish domestically would ensure a seat at UEFA’s top table.

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But West Ham United’s participation in the Europa League adds a further spanner in the works. The Irons are set to take on Bundesliga high-fliers Bayer Leverkusen in the first league of their quarter-final this Thursday.

If West Ham win the competition - and finish fifth in the Premier League - that would open up sixth spot for the Champions League as Europa League victors already qualify. That might be enough for Toon fans to don claret and blue on Thursday nights from now until May.

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