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UEFA open door for leagues to finish with different formats

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

3:31 PM - 23 Apr 2020



UEFA has urged its member associations to explore all possible options to allow clubs qualify for next season's European competitions via results on the pitch. 

Football across almost the entire continent is suspended, while some leagues have already announced the premature end of their top flight campaigns.

With that in mind, European football's governing body has stressed that "the health of players, spectators and all those involved in football as well as the public at large must remain the primary concern at this time."

Belgium has already seen the remainder of its A League cancelled, while the Netherlands' Eredivisie is likely to be ended by a KNVB meeting with clubs on Friday.

The Spanish Football Federation said earlier this month that current La Liga placings would determine who qualifies for Europe next season if the league cannot resume.

With a mounting number of leagues across Europe packing up their tents for the season, UEFA has issued guidelines for admission to the Champions League and Europa League next season.

They say, "The ideal scenario, should the pandemic situation permit it, is to have the currently suspended domestic competitions completed enabling football clubs to qualify for UEFA club competitions on sporting merit in their original format.

"Should this outcome not be possible, in particular due to calendar issues, it would be preferable that suspended domestic competitions would restart with a different format in a manner which would still facilitate clubs to qualify on sporting merit."

Criteria

UEFA offer the following "legitimate" reasons for a season to be ended prematurely:

• existence of an official order prohibiting sports events so that the domestic competitions cannot be completed before a date that would make it possible to complete the current season in good time before the next season to start.

• insurmountable economic problems which make finishing the season impossible because it would put at risk the long-term financial stability of the domestic competition and/or clubs.

If a competition is ended for one of the above reasons, then UEFA will ask national associations to decide who progressed to Europe based on the following:

• the procedure for selecting clubs should be based on objective, transparent and non-discriminatory principles. National Associations and Leagues, should otherwise have the ability to decide the final positions in their domestic competitions, having regard to the specific circumstances of each competition;

• the final determination of eligible places for the UEFA club competitions should be confirmed by the relevant competent bodies at domestic level.

Altering the formats may open the door for associations to decide final placings via playoffs.

In the Dutch Eredivisie, for instance, only goal difference separates the top two of Ajax and AZ.

And in Spain, Getafe have already voiced their disapproval with plans to use current placings to decide Champions League qualification. In La Liga's current suspended state, Getafe trail fourth placed Real Sociedad on goal difference.

UEFA say they reserve the right to block qualification for Europe under the following criteria:

• the domestic competitions have not been prematurely terminated based on the reasons given in these UEFA guidelines or on the basis of any other legitimate public health reasons;

• the clubs were selected pursuant to a procedure which was not objective, transparent and non-discriminatory so that the selected clubs could not be considered as having been qualified on sporting merit;

• there is a public perception of unfairness in the qualification of the club.



Read more about

Champions League Coronavirus Covid-19 Eredivisie Europa League La Liga UEFA

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