The winners of football’s Europa League will automatically qualify from 2015 for a Champions League place in the following season, UEFA decided on Friday.

The new ruling, designed to make the Europa League more attractive to clubs, was ratified by the UEFA Congress in London.

It was also agreed to give 16 teams from 12 countries a direct starting place in the competition’s group phase. At present six teams from six nations qualify directly for the Europa League group phase.

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