West Ham and Everton on course for Europa League

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West Ham United and Everton have given themselves the chance to qualify for next season's Europa League thanks to their disciplinary records.

Holland, England and the Republic of Ireland have each been given an extra Europa League qualifying place for the team with the best disciplinary record. Currently, Liverpool sit top of the fair play ranking but are on course to finish in a European qualifying place and therefore second place will be awarded the slot.

Statement from UEFA

In a statement relayed by the London Evening Standard, UEFA said: "Winners Netherlands, second-placed England and third-placed Republic of Ireland will each be granted one additional slot to the first qualifying round of the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League.

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"The fair play assessments are made by the official UEFA delegates on criteria such as positive play, respect of the opponent, respect of the referee, behaviour of the crowd and of the team officials, as well as cautions and dismissals."

Everton vs West Ham

The Toffees are currently trailing in the league with 278.75 points behind West Ham, who have 281.25. Interestingly, the sides meet on May 16, which looks set to decide the destination of the European place.

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England are not new to the award having gained an extra place at the end of the 2010/11 season. Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham had all qualified for European competition that season and so the award was given to west London club Fulham.

Potential negatives?

It is fair to say the costs outweigh the benefits on this occasion as the first qualifying game is either at the end of June or early July. Holidays cut short and games against minnows await the winner; probably better to stay off a beach in the Mediterranean, then.

Everton have had a shocking campaign this time round but the only ray of light is the Toffees' Europa League efforts. The Merseyside club finished top of their group but perhaps were a little disappointed with their exit to Dynamo Kiev in the round of 16.

Great opportunity

West Ham's last foray in Europe was in the UEFA Cup during the 2006/07 season. The Hammers qualified thanks to their impressive FA Cup form from the previous season that took them all the way to the final.

The east London club's time in Europe was less well spent and extremely short as the Hammers only lasted two games before being knocked out by Italian side Palermo. Their time in the competition was mostly remembered for large-scale crowd disorder and Mafia t-shirts worn by some West Ham fans.  

With the huge increase in games and presumed struggles after playing on a Thursday night, will either of these sides actually want to qualify?

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