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ECL Qualification Rules


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There's a question I've been thinking of lately, probably stupid, just want an answer to confirm my thoughts.

So, we know that the top 4 in the EPL qualify for the next season's ECL competition. However, if one English team wins the ECL, but fails to to make top 4 in the same year, they will be entitiled to enter the ECL next season, as defending champions, at the expesne of 4th in their domestic league.

But I think I've heard/read somewhere that if the ECL champions finish in their top 4, and automatically qualify, they don't take that spot, rather enter as reigning champions leaving the door open for 5th to go through as well. I can't find a record of that though, so I'm assuming it's not true.

But what it would mean if true, is if Arsenal or United won the ECL, both 4th and 5th would become spots for EPL teams to qualify. I just want someone who knows to conclusively shut down the theory...so I can rest easy in the knowledge that if Liverpool get 5th, they will have no loophole to squeeze into the ECL.

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I may well be wrong but i think this was cleared up by UEFA after liverpool in 2005. I think that now the defending champions dont get a automatic place and it is only the league positions that matter. But i may well be wrong in that.

But then again the World cup champions no longer get an automatic place do they

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