By Brian Bariyo Tumuramye
European football governing body UEFA (European Football Association) has urged clubs to “explore all possible options” to finish domestic seasons and use “a different format” if needed in order for teams to qualify for European competitions.
European football’s governing body wants clubs to qualify for European competitions through “sporting merit”.
If league seasons cannot be finished it said national associations would need to select clubs to qualify for Europe.
UEFA said it could “refuse or evaluate” selected teams if necessary.
But after a video call meeting of all 55 national associations it is clear UEFA wants on-field performance to determine which clubs make up next season’s Champions League and Europa League competitions despite the current shutdown of major leagues because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Spanish Football Association suggested places being allocated on the basis of club coefficient, which calculates performance in European club competitions over a five year period.
Had the method been taken up, Atletico Madrid, who are currently outside the top four in La Liga would have qualified for the Champions League at the expense of Real Sociedad, while in the Premier League Manchester United would have done the same at the expense of Leicester City.
“UEFA urges National Associations and Leagues to explore all possible options to play all top domestic competitions giving access to UEFA club competitions to their natural conclusion,” UEFA said in a statement.
“The ideal scenario, should the pandemic situation permit it, is to have the currently suspended domestic competitions completed enabling football clubs to qualify for UEFA club competitions on sporting merit in their original format.
“Should this outcome not be possible, in particular due to calendar issues, it would be preferable that suspended domestic competitions would restart with a different format in a manner which would still facilitate clubs to qualify on sporting merit.”