England handed additional Europa spot

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England has been granted an additional place in next season's Europa League via the UEFA Respect Fair Play ranking, UEFA confirmed on Monday.

As expected, an extra English team will appear in the competition's first qualifying round next season, with Fulham seeming the likely beneficiaries with one game of the Barclays Premier League season remaining.

The UEFA ranking was headed by Norway, with England and third-placed Sweden also gaining additional spots.

Fulham currently head the Premier League's domestic fair play table and are the only team not to have had a player sent off in the competition this season.

Relegation-threatened Blackpool appear their only realistic challengers, their 46 yellow cards and two reds giving them 52 disciplinary points for the season - just two outside the total amassed by the Cottagers' half-century of bookings.


The Tangerines belatedly applied for a UEFA licence to play in European football, though manager Ian Holloway was not enthusiastic about the prospect when made aware of it.

"If this Europe thing does happen then all I'll be thinking about is how short our summer is going to be because the qualifying stages for the Europa League begin at the start of July," he said last month.

"The season doesn't end until 22nd May so we will get about a month off, tops. When you consider we didn't really have much of a break last year because of the play-offs that really isn't good."

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