Manchester City and Fulham will go head to head for a place in next season’s UEFA Cup on Sunday, after Europe’s governing body announced an extra spot in the competition will be awarded to the team top of England’s Fair Play rankings.
With Tottenham, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal already assured of European action, Manchester City (299.8 points), in fifth position in the Premier League Fair Play table, are in pole position to claim the lucrative berth.
Everton, next best, are likely to qualify directly as fifth-placed team in the Premier League, leaving Fulham (297.8) in seventh as Manchester City’s competition.
The English FA were awarded an additional entry by virtue of topping the 2007/08 UEFA Fair Play rankings, where European associations are scored using a coefficient based on such factors as the behaviour of fans and players, respect shown to referees, and the number of red and yellow cards a team receives.
Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Spain and France have also been awarded an additional spot in the UEFA Cup for their Fair Play ranking.
If Fulham succeed in becoming one of four English sides in the competition, Roy Hodgson and his team can watch the draw for the first round on May 13, on the eve of this year’s final between Rangers and Zenit St. Petersburg.
Fulham travel to Portsmouth on Sunday, with City away at Middlesbrough.
If Fulham leapfrog Man City in the Premier League Fair Play table and are relegated they would still be able to play in the UEFA Cup.