Double standards from the FA it seems. Last night the FA issued a statement to say that should Liverpool win the Champions League, they wouldn’t bother to nominate them for next year’s tournament.
The last time a similar situation occured was when Real Madrid won the cup but finished outside the Spanish top four – the Spanish FA did their duty and nominated Real for the following season’s tournament. The fourth-placed team then went into the UEFA Cup.
Funnily enough though the FA had different feelings on the issue last year. Arsenal and Chelsea met in the quarter finals last year, Chelsea going into the semis and then being defeated. Arsenal ran away with the title last season and Chelsea finished second. 14 months ago though there was still an outside chance that Chelsea could finish outside the top four, but win the Champions League.
If Chelsea had won the Champions League in 2004, but had finished outside the top four, the FA would have nominated them for the following season’s competition. The fourth placed team would have gone into the UEFA cup instead. In the end Liverpool were fourth, so in theory the FA were ready to deny Liverpool last season too.
This season all of the talk is about how it’s more important for the fourth placed team to be in the following season’s competition.
We don’t think there’s a conspiracy against Liverpool (although no doubt some will) – but we think it proves that the FA are poorly organised and in need of a serious shake-up. It’s wrong to change the interpretation of the rules on a whim. We also don’t think it helps matters that one of those involved in making the decision yesterday is the chairman of Bolton – one of the teams fighting for fourth place.
An extract from the article is shown below, the full article can be accessed by clicking the title.
"The road to Europe
By Jerry Newman. Wednesday, 10 March 2004.
With the season about to reach its conclusion, we clear-up for you how the European places are awarded.
The Champions League
Number of places available: 4
The UEFA Champions League is open to each national association’s domestic champions, as well as clubs who finish just behind them in the domestic championship table.
The number of clubs that can be entered by an association and their entry point in the competition depends on the association’s position in UEFA’s coefficient ranking list.
The top two Premiership sides will qualify for the competition automatically, while the third and fourth placed teams will enter initially into the qualification rounds, as Chelsea and Newcastle United did this season.
Should Arsenal or Chelsea win the Champions League, they will automatically qualify for next season’s competition but England will not gain an extra Champions League place, even if they finish outside of the top four in the Premiership.
In that scenario the fourth-placed team in the Premiership will play in next season’s UEFA Cup."