European qualification could come down to points per game if the league season doesn’t finish, according to a report today.
Martyn Ziegler of The Times reports that UEFA’s executive committee decided that if leagues don’t finish, qualification for the Champions League and the Europa League should be on sporting merit. He took the implication of that to mean points per game.
This would certainly ensure Arsenal fail to make the Champions League. However, it would leave the Gunners in contention for another year of Europa League football.
On point per game, Arsenal would overtake Tottenham Hotspur into eighth place. Sheffield United would overtake Wolves into sixth.
The top four usually get Champions League places, but the Europa League places are more complicated. Normally, fifth gets a spot, then sixth and seventh also get one if teams from the top five win the two domestic cup competitions.
Manchester City already won the League Cup, so sixth definitely gets a place. Seventh probably will as well, assuming either the FA Cup is cancelled or it restarts and one of the top teams win it (quite likely this year given the teams remaining in it).
Then, if Manchester City’s Champions League ban stands, all those spots move down by one. Manchester United (fifth) get Champions League, and Arsenal (eighth) get the Europa League qualifying spot.
Obviously, this isn’t a fair system. Sheffield United are seventh by two points with a game in hand against Aston Villa, they could very easily make it into fifth and the Champions League with a win. Some teams have also played much harder fixtures than others.
Still, I wouldn’t put it past UEFA and the Premier League to use this method.