The UEFA Cup is a competition for the runners-up and the Cup Winners of each country, some teams expelled from the Champions League, the best teams of the Intertoto Cup, and teams from countries who top the UEFA Fair Play competition. UEFA decided that a new format will be used for the UEFA Cup starting in 2004. If the cup winner of a country also qualifies for the Champions League, then the losing team of the cup final is qualified for the UEFA Cup. If both cup finalists qualify for the Champions League, then an additional team based on league position will be qualified. However, the losing cup finalist does not get the UEFA Cup cup-winner spot, but is treated as a league entrant. The 'cup-winner' spot of that country goes to the team with the highest league position. In some countries (England and France) the last league entrant position is given to the League Cup Winner.
The place for the defending cup holder is only used when that team has not otherwise qualified for either the Champions League or the UEFA Cup. If this place is not used then the cup winners of the 17th and 18th countries on the country ranking list will gain direct access to the 1st round.