From the Press box

Nicole Carroll: A one woman mission to make a name in football

Fourth Place Playoff Rejected

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The Premier League have today rejected the idea previously floated that the 4th place in the Champions League would be decided by a playoff.

The notion presented was that all teams from 4th to 7th would be placed into a play off system to determine who gained that place. The regular top four of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal were quick to dismiss the idea, but the idea was liked by some of the Premier League’s other clubs.

This idea could be a non starter for a number of reasons.

Part of the reason that this season has been so exciting is the emergence of 3 leagues within the Premier League. Firstly you have the mini league trying to win the Premier League, which at the start of the season was between Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal.

Further down you then have the teams trying to gain that elusive fourth place position, as well as Europa league qualification. Then you have those at the bottom, fighting relegation or trying to avoid being sucked into a relegation dog fight.

The race to get that fourth place position has been hotly contested, with Manchester City at this moment of time, looking the most likely to steal that fourth place from Liverpool. If you were to remove the exclusivity of 4th place, then could this allow for the possibility of those teams who occupying those spaces simply sitting on their laurels and not contesting so hard, in the knowledge that they’ll all have a chance of securing the Champions League spot.

Secondly, logistically, it would end up with a very congested season with the extra matches being needed to determine the 4th qualification spot. Around the same time you’d have the FA Cup final and the other league’s finals happening at Wembley, so you would have a mass of football happening at Wembley in a very short time. Although this would be good for the FA’s bank account, this is not good for teams who’ll be facing an even longer season with players who are already tired and needing a summer break.

Thirdly, the Champions League is a contest watched by thousands, even millions, across Europe and even the world. Surely, we should be focussing the best 4 talents our country can offer, rather than 3 great talents and the 7th placed team who were lucky in the play off system.

The chance of having somebody different entered in the Champions League is interesting. With the league becoming ever more competitive, we should probably expect different teams to qualify for Champions League in the traditional manner, rather than a manufactured attempt to show that we have other teams than the normal “big four”.

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Written by Nicole Carroll

March 4, 2010 at 7:21 pm

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