Champions League: Premier League to hold on to four places

Chelsea players during Paris St-Germain defeat
Chelsea's last-16 Champions League exit came at the hands of Paris St-Germain

The Premier League will keep four Champions League qualification places next season, despite a chance no side will reach this year's last eight.

Chelsea were knocked out in the last 16 by Paris St-Germain while Man City and Arsenal trail in their ties.

But England remains second in Uefa's association club coefficient rankings,external-link ahead of both Germany and Italy.

The rankings determine the number of qualification places countries have in the Champions League and Europa League.

For a second year running, English clubs have struggled in the Champions League.

Last season, only two sides out of four reached the quarter-finals - Manchester United and Chelsea.

While the four spots are safe for the short term, as English clubs toil in Europe, those from Italy - who currently only have three Champions League places - are enjoying significant success in Uefa competition this season and are poised make some inroads into the gap between them and England.

Liverpool at Anfield in the Champions League
Liverpool were eliminated at the group stage of this year's Champions League

What is the Uefa coefficient?

A ranking based on the results of all clubs from a country in the five previous Champions League and Europa League seasons.

The top three countries - currently Spain, England and Germany - are each awarded four Champions League places and three Europa League places.

Current rankings go back to the 2010/11 season when Manchester United lost 3-1 to Barcelona in the Champions League final.

Chelsea's 2013 Europa League win was the last European success for English clubs

How is it calculated?

A coefficient is an average score.

The number of points obtained for performances are divided by the total number of clubs representing a country in the Champions League and Europa League.

That is then added to the results of the previous four seasons to determine the coefficient.

Where two associations have the same coefficient, the association with the higher coefficient in the most recent season is placed first.

How are points scored?

Champions League
First qualifying round elimination - 0.5 points
Second qualifying round elimination - 1 point
Group stage participation - 4 points
Group stage win - 2 points
Group stage draw - 1 point
Round of 16 participation - 4 points
Clubs are awarded an additional point if they reach the round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals or final.

Points are not awarded for elimination in the third qualifying round or play-offs as teams move to the Europa League and are awarded points for participation in that competition.

Europa League
First qualifying round elimination - 0.25 points
Second qualifying round elimination - 0.5 points
Third qualifying round elimination - 1 point
Play-off elimination - 1.5 points
Group stage win - 2 points
Group stage draw - 1 point
Clubs are guaranteed a minimum of two points if they reach the group stage and are awarded an additional point if they get to the quarter-finals, semi-finals or final.

Current standings

Uefa coefficient standings

*Figures correct at start of Champions League last-16 and Europa League last-16 rounds in 2014/15.

Rankings are updated after each round of Uefa club competition matches.

The Italian threat?

As is evident above, England's coefficient has dropped significantly over the last season.

Germany and Italy's rankings are certain to improve before the end of this season after strong performances from their sides.

Italy - currently with just three Champions League qualification places - still has all six of its qualifying sides for 2014/15 in Uefa competitions.

Five are in the last-16 of the Europa League, with at least one guaranteed a quarter-final place.

But, there is still a considerable 14-point gap between England and Italy, suggesting a top-four Premier League finish will secure Champions League qualification for a while yet.

Fiorentina players celebrate
Fiorentina are one of six Italian sides still in European competition this season