Date:Tuesday January 30 2007
What Pompey Need for Europe
One of my co-editors wrote an article-encouraging Arsenal to beat Tottenham in the Carling Cup. He thinks that based on the rules of European qualification, this would have resulted in the seventh spot becoming a European place.
Many managers will talk about having a good season and getting into the top six, qualifying for Europe. In fact the only guaranteed UEFA cup spot is 5th place!
The top two teams in the Premier League will automatically qualify for the group stages of the Champions League, avoiding any qualification.
Third and Fourth
These two teams will enter the third round of qualification for the Champions League. The winner of the two-leg qualifier will enter the group stages.
If Portsmouth where to capture fifth spot this season they would automatically qualify for the UEFA cup.
Sixth and Seventh
Neither side would automatically qualify for Europe and would be relying on outcomes of the two domestic cup competitions.
If the winner of the F.A cup isn`t in the top five of the Premiership then they qualify for the UEFA cup. If they are and the runners-up aren`t in the top five, then they qualify for the UEFA cup. If the FA Cup champions and runners-up both finish in the top five of the Premier League, the UEFA Cup spot goes to the next placed team in the League e.g sixth.
The League Cup
If the winner of the league cup isn`t in the top five then they will claim a UEFA cup spot. HOWEVER if the winners are in the top five then the runners-up DON`T receive a european place. It goes to the next highest placed team not in Europe, either sixth or seventh.
What does this mean for Pompey?
We need the F.A cup final to be between two sides who are both in the top five of the Premier League. For example; if two from Manchester United, Arsenal,Chelsea or whoever finishes fifth i.e. Tottenham, then the sixth/seventh spot (depending on league cup) becomes a European place.
In the league cup we just require the winner to finish in the top five. That`s why a win for Arsenal would almost gurantee an extra European spot. Although the League Cup final occurs before the F.A Cup final, so if Chelsea or Arsenal do win that opens up sixth not seventh spot.
If Tottenham win the League Cup (also don`t finish in the top five) and the F.A cup winner is a team outside the top five e.g Man City, then only fifth place in the league would see Pompey qualify.
We want Chelsea or Arsenal to win the league cup and the F.A cup final to consist of two teams already in the top five and then and only then, will 5th,6th and 7th spot enable Portsmouth qualification for the UEFA cup.
Is There any Other Way?
Yes there are two more ways; First is the highest placed team not having qualified for the UEFA cup is offerd to play in the UEFA Intertoto Cup. This may be 6th,7th or 8th spot. The competion occurs in the summer (pre-season). Previously three winners would enter the UEFA cup. As of this season, eleven winning teams will go through to the second qualifying round of the UEFA Cup.
The other is a fair play award given to the team with the least amount of yellow and red cards. That team then enters a draw with other teams from different countries, with the winner qualifying for the UEFA cup. Don`t worry too much about this one as Pompey don`t stand much of a chance through this back door entrance. I think Charlton won this award last year but weren`t selected from the hat.
I hope this long and complicated article has cleared up some of the confusion behind the European qualification. Any questions please email me at email@example.com.
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