After an agonising wait, Fulham were this afternoon confirmed as participants in next season’s Europa League after winning the extra English place in the European competition.

Fulham’s place as the highest non-European qualified place in the Premier League’s fair play table was placed in jeopardy by Zoltan Gera’s sending off in Sunday’s last game of the season against Arsenal. Relegated Blackpool missed out on a place in Europe by a tantalising 0.01 points.

Fulham, who reached the final of the 2009-2010 competition, will start their campaign in the first qualifying round meaning that their season will get underway on June 30. Mark Hughes has suggested he’ll be juggling his resources to ensure his first-team players aren’t burnt out midway through the league season:

We’ve got a very early start and we will have to come back on something like June 23 for a match on June 30.

We’ll have three to four weeks break maximum so it’s difficult to plan for. A huge amount of thought needs to go into the guys that need the rest and making sure we have the right quality to move through the competition in the early rounds.