UEFA: Champions League and Europa League qualification must be ‘on sporting merit’

Qualification for next season’s Champions League and Europa League must be ‘on sporting merit’, according to UEFA regulations.

UEFA’s most powerful officials will discuss the growing impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, after further conference calls with all 55 associations and clubs this week.

Article 4 of UEFA’s Champions League and Europa League regulations states: “To be eligible to participate in the competition, clubs must have qualified for the competition on sporting merit.”

The Sun has reported European football officials have been urged to order associations to use UEFA coefficient scores to determine which teams will qualify for European club competitions next season.

UEFA calculates its coefficients based on results of the five previous seasons of Champions League and Europa League participation, or over one season.

Under the current rankings, Manchester City (6), Liverpool (8), Manchester United (9) and Arsenal (10) are the top-four ranked sides in England, ahead of Tottenham (13), Chelsea (14), Leicester (70) and Wolves (85).

Manchester City have been banned from all European competitions for two seasons after breaching financial fair play rules and have appealed the decision.

But UEFA’s coefficient system penalises clubs that have not regularly competed in recent European competitions.

Sheffield United are currently seventh-placed in the Premier League, level on points with Wolves and two points behind fifth-placed Manchester United.

The FA, which determines how clubs from England qualify for European competitions, has yet to outline its position should there be difficulties in finishing the domestic season.

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