Irish Premiership: Northern Ireland clubs lose Europa League place for 2020/21 season
The Irish Premiership has lost a Europa League place for the 2020/21 season, it has been confirmed.
Northern Ireland's UEFA co-efficient ranking means the number of berths has been reduced from four to three.
The league winners will earn passage into Champions League qualifying, while the runners-up and Irish Cup winners will earn a Europa League berth.
As a result, there will be no Europa League play-off series at the end of the current season.
This, however, is subject to change again given the impressive performances of Northern Irish clubs in Europe at the start of this season.
With Linfield having reached the Europa League play-off stage after Crusaders, Cliftonville and Ballymena United had all progressed past their first qualifying tie, Northern Ireland's co-efficient ranking is expected to rise from 52nd to 48th.
If this happens, UEFA are expected to reinstate the Irish Premiership's fourth qualifying spot for the 2021/22 campaign.