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By ESPN Staff

Platini agrees to drop cup winners plans

Three teams from the Premier League are set to qualify automatically for the Champions League after UEFA agreed to drop proposals for domestic cup winners to qualify for the tournament.

UEFA president Michel Platini is understood to have agreed to drop the domestic cup plan in return for securing a deal where from 2009 six spots in the group stage are reserved for league champions from the bottom 40 countries in Europe.

PA Sport revealed last week that Platini was facing defeat on the domestic cup plan after he failed to get support from the five big football associations.

UEFA's strategy council, made up of representatives from UEFA, the leagues, the clubs and the players, agreed to the compromise which will now go to UEFA's executive committee on December 1 for a final decision.

The effect of the change means the fourth-placed side in England will play two qualification rounds instead of one.

The champions of Europe's leading 12 countries, currently including Scotland, will also be guaranteed a place in the group phase.

The six group places reserved for the champions of the 40 lowest leagues among UEFA's 53 member associations will be decided by three qualifying rounds.

A spin-off of today's decision is that a new organisation for clubs is likely to be formed that is completely separate from G14, the group of 18 clubs from among Europe's elite, which is expected to be disbanded.

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon is one of the clubs' representatives on UEFA's strategy council and is expected to play a leading role in a new clubs' organisation.