That is the FA Cup champion (Chelsea and Leicester were in the final) and the Premier League fifth-place finisher. If the FA Cup winners finish in the top five, they will be eligible to compete in the Europa League. From now on, just 32 clubs will compete in the Europa League group stages, down from 48 in previous years. The losers of the play-offs will claim one of the remaining places.
The draw for the first round was conducted live on Sky Sports News on 31 August. It featured 32 ties, with 16 groups of four containing three clubs each and eight single-club groups. The eight qualifiers are determined by ranking the countries from which entrants are drawn by their position in terms of population. These are calculated from figures published by the United Nations Department of Economic Development.
Entry into European competitions is generally granted to the highest ranked national team. However, if a country does not have enough qualified teams, wild cards can be issued by UEFA to allow certain teams to participate. In 2014, only two wild cards were issued: one to Northern Ireland, who entered at the qualifying stage, and another to Faroe Islands, who entered at the play-off stage. Both teams succeeded in progressing further than had been expected when entering into the competition.
Wild cards may also be given to smaller nations who qualify for the Euro 2020 tournament.
If the FA Cup winners finish in the top five, which appears to be the case, they will qualify for the Europa League. The other 16 places at the play-offs will be given to the FA Cup winners, as well as the league runners-up who were not already qualified through their league position.
Qualification would cost them because they only have one spot available for Europe. But if they win the FA Cup again, then they'll get another chance in 2018.
The FA Cup has been used by European teams as a route to the Champions League for many years. In 1995–96, Chelsea made it to the last four of the UEFA Cup after beating Liverpool in the final. In 2014–15, Manchester City reached the semi-finals of the Europa League. Both these teams had finished below Chelsea in the Premier League that season.
So, yes, winning the FA Cup does guarantee qualification for England's football team.
If the FA Cup winner finishes in the top five in the Premier League, the sixth-placed team will qualify for the Europa League. If there is a seventh-place finisher, they will also qualify.
The final spot in Europe goes to the league which wins the most points across the two semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League. Should both Manchester clubs be involved in the European competition, then City would qualify because they are currently ahead of United in the table. However, if United win the FA Cup and City lose against Chelsea in the final, then City would still qualify because they would have more points than United.
United cannot qualify for both the Champions League and the Europa League due to UEFA regulations which state that each club can only enter one tournament through the qualifying rounds. Should United win the Europa League, they would have to decide whether to enter the Champions League or not. No matter what decision they make, their place in the competition would then go to the fifth-placed team in the Premier League.
Chelsea would qualify for the Europa League if they beat United in the FA Cup final and City fail to win the Champions Leaguelast-four game against PSG.
Who is eligible for the Europa League? Because to the advent of the Europa Conference League, there are only two Europa League slots this season (more on that in a bit). The other seven places at stake this year went to the top four non-British teams in the UEFA ranking. These are: Red Bull Salzburg from Austria, RB Leipzig from Germany, Napoli and AC Milan from Italy, and Manchester United from England.
What countries have more than one entry? Since 2004, when the current system was introduced, there have been nine years with two entrants and only one year with three entrants (Ukraine in 2008). In 2014, UEFA decided that no country could enter both the Champions League and the Europa League. So, if you win the national championship, you're out of the running for Europe's biggest club tournament (unless you qualify via another route).
Since its creation, the Europa League has been open to any team that meets the criteria set by UEFA. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that many big clubs from around the world have participated over the years. Here is a list of all the former winners of the competition: Real Madrid, Chelsea, Liverpool, Schalke 04, Benfica, Dynamo Kiev, A.C. Milan, and Napoli.