Cup winners to earn Europa League berths

MINSK, Oct 4 (Reuters) - The domestic cup winners from the top six European nations will go directly into the Europa League rather than having to take part in the qualifying rounds, UEFA decided on Monday.

UEFA said the new measure, passed by its executive committee at a meeting on Monday, would start in the 2012/13 season and would benefit the six highest-ranked European associations.

UEFA spokesman Rob Faulkner said, however, that if the cup winners had qualified for the Champions League, then the runners-up would go into the qualifying tournament.

The direct spot would then go to the top-placed league qualifier from the same country.

The Europa League is Europe's second continental club competition after the Champions League and features 12 groups of four.

England, Spain, Italy, France, Germany and Russia are currently the six highest-ranked associations.