RSC Anderlecht and R. Standard de Liège have been handed an additional incentive in their title play-off with the domestic successes of the UEFA Champions League finalists freeing up a place in the group stage for the Belgian champions.
According to the competition regulations, the UEFA Champions League winners are entitled to a group-stage berth regardless of whether they qualify for the competition via their domestic league, but since Rome finalists Manchester United FC and FC Barcelona are already sure of their place as English and Spanish champions respectively, a vacancy has opened up. This gap will be filled by the Belgian champions, and will also benefit the titleholders in Switzerland, the Faroe Islands and Luxembourg.
UEFA said: "The domestic champion of the association ranked 13th in the coefficient ranking table (Belgium) will enter the competition directly in the group stage instead of the third qualifying round. The vacancy this creates in the third qualifying round will benefit the domestic champion of the association ranked 16th in the coefficient ranking table (Switzerland), who will enter the competition in the third qualifying round instead of the second. Finally, the vacancy left by Switzerland in the second qualifying round will benefit the domestic champions of the Faroe Islands and Luxembourg (positions 48 and 49 in the coefficient ranking table), who will enter the competition in the second qualifying round instead of the first."