Over the last 18 months, Leicester City have gone from the brink of relegation to Premier League champions back to flirting with relegation again. But their exploits in Champions League have been consistent with their capability and it has raised the question ‘what if – and it’s a big if – they did the unthinkable and went on to win the Champions League but get relegated’?
First and foremost, it’s a very unlikely event with no precedent in the history. It's not impossible, nothing is in football. But it hasn't happened yet. So the obvious reaction to that question should be something like,
But let’s imagine the unthinkable and consider a case for Leicester winning the Champions league and also get relegated. Then,
1. They will automatically qualify for the UEFA Champions League 2017–2018 season
2. Leicester will play ‘The Football League,’ which is the second tier of English Football.
3. Teams finishing in the top four will earn automatic qualification for the Champions league alongside Leicester as a fifth English representation.
4. But Leicester will be awaiting a congested season ahead. The 46 league games accompanied with Champions League and other domestic tournaments like EFL Cup and FA Cup could see Leicester playing as many as 61 games in a single season.
5. The Foxes will be a very rich second division team
Now that’s settled, let’s extend our speculation to a case where both Leicester and Manchester United wins their respective European competitions but the former gets relegated. Then,
1. Both United and Leicester will play Champions League football in 2017-18.
2. Leicester will still be relegated to the lower division
3. BUT the Premier League side finishing fourth in the table will be dropped to Europa League since each country can only have a maximum of five teams in the Champions League.