The FA confirmed today that the top four teams in the Premiership at the end of the season will be entered into next season’s UEFA Champions League

According to a statement on the FA website: ‘The decision follows a recommendation from this afternoon’s Professional Game Board meeting, which has been endorsed by The FA Main Board. This will not be changed whatever the outcome of Liverpool’s Champions League Final in Istanbul on 25 May.’

The decision will come as a blow to Liverpool who could win this season’s competition and not be able to defend the trophy if they finish fifth.

Uefa has said it will not allow five English clubs to take part next season.

Everton are currently in fourth place and are three points ahead rivals Liverpool with a game in hand.

The FA statement continued: ‘The FA also believes that if Liverpool win in Istanbul and do not finish in the top four in the Premiership, an extra place should be allocated to them in the Champions League next season. This is ultimately a matter for UEFA, but The FA will continue to make representations on this issue at the highest level.’

Uefa regulations stipulate that a maximum of four sides from any one country can take part in the Champions League.

“You cannot change the rule at this late stage of the season,” stated Uefa spokesman William Gaillard.

“For future seasons, say from 2006-2007, the executive committee may look to change the rule. But for next season the rule stays at it is.

“The English Premiership has four places and it would be unfair to tell another national association that they have lost one of theirs.”