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Playoff for the 3rd and 4th ECL spots?

By Tom Griffiths :  12/05/2008 :  Comments (15) :
5th - a fantastic season overall. Sad that aiming for 5th is like winning the league but that?s the way it is. But what if it wasn?t? Yesterday I was thinking about how the other 16 premier league teams would break their champions league monopoly and had a brain wave. I?m sure it?s been raised before, but it?s the first I?ve heard of it. Looking at the fixtures for the playoffs in the lower leagues, I thought ?Why don?t the FA introduce a playoff for Champions League spots??. And why not indeed?

It?s good enough of a system to decide who spends an entire season in the league above, so why not for a place in the champions league? The logistics would need to be ironed out, but surely a system where the top 2 (Man U, Chelsea) automatically qualify for the ECL and the teams in league places 3-6 play off for the last 2 champions league spots, and the 2 (normally) UEFA Cup spots? Sure, a team from 6th place MAY qualify for the ECL ? but a team in 6th in the championships MAY win promotion to the premier league. What?s the difference? If anything, my proposed system is less ?risky? because the team who wins the ECL spot from 6th will only have a handful of games (6 group games at most) in which to embarrass themselves, but a team who wins promotion from the 6th has 38 possibly painful games to endure the following season in the premier league.

I live in Australia so my exposure to Football discourse is limited, but surely this has been discussed before? Apologies if I?m revisiting an old (and dead?) issue but I can?t see why this idea doesn?t have merit.

For those who oppose it (probably fans of the Sky 4) may say that it will let ?lesser? teams enter the ECL, but that argument can flow through to the playoff system that we use for our other leagues so I don?t see it as a valid rebuttal.

Only 8 times in 128 (32 * 4) games were the Sky 4 defeated by one of the other 16 teams in the league (6%) ? surely that makes for as KK says, a boring league and the FA has the responsibility to make it fairer. Wouldn?t this system achieve that, or at least give the other 16 teams something more realistic to aim for? Of course, and probably, the 3rd and 4th teams would probably beat the 5th and 6th teams (as they should) but at least it gives the 5th and 6th teams a chance? and surely every so often there will be an upset and Everton, or Villa or Tottenham will win the ECL playoff and (assuming they negotiate the ECL qualifier) will be endowed with the 30mil that the Sky 4 take for granted.

This can only strengthen the competition in the long-run. Am I getting carried away by my own idea, or does anyone else think this idea has merit.

(Again, sorry if I?m rehashing a long dead issue that has already been discussed at length in England).

Reader Comments

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1   Posted 12/05/2008 at 16:21:57

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Tom its a very interesting point however if it was adopted it would be just our luck to be the season we finish in the top 4 and we traditionally(under DM) collapse at the end of the season.

So as a footballl fan it gets my vote but as an Evertonian I think I’ll decline.
Albert Dock
2   Posted 12/05/2008 at 16:44:07

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As far as I am concerned the only team that should get in the Champions League should be just that. The Champions. Just look at the sort of rubbish that finishes fourth.
Michael Hunt
3   Posted 12/05/2008 at 17:08:54

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Great idea, gets my vote, but unfortunately my vote as an ordinary fan means nothing.
I suspect the powers that be are happy to protect the closed shop money tree so it’ll never happen.
Phil Guyers
4   Posted 12/05/2008 at 17:12:24

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I understand that, from the 2009/10 season, there will be three automatic Champions League places for English clubs and only one to the final qualifying round. It seems to me an excellent idea to have a play-off for that final place between the teams finishing 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th with the unsuccessful clubs going into the UEFA Cup.

Imagine the excitement of those play-off games as well as the increased excitement towards the end of the league season.

Surely the only objectors to such a system (which they have in Holland) would be the club that nearly always finishes fourth. I wonder who that could be.
5   Posted 12/05/2008 at 17:30:06

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’Surely the only objectors to such a system (which they have in Holland) would be the club that nearly always finishes fourth. I wonder who that could be.’

Hopefully it will be us in the near future!!
Will Leaf
6   Posted 12/05/2008 at 17:19:29

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Agreed, Albert.

Part of the problem is that they let in too many teams. If only the champions qualified the teams that now comprise the Sky 4 would have to be much more careful with their big spending. With only one team guaranteed CL money, the next season’s revenue stream would be much more volatile. The league would then be much more fluid at the top.

Of course, this is all a pipe dream.

The old European Cup was fought over by the champion elite of each nation. And now we have the so-called Champion’s League. George Orwell would be impressed.

As for the playoff idea. I kind of like it. It would actually give the chance of diluting some of that CL money to the chasing teams. Don’t know what you would do if, say, a losing playoff team went on to win that year’s CL.
Albert Dock
7   Posted 12/05/2008 at 17:50:48

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Having had my pre meal amontillado I have come over all pedantic.

I have searched everywhere and nowhere is there an apostrophe in Champions League.

Is there an expert in philology who might be able to explain this?
Will Leaf
8   Posted 12/05/2008 at 17:57:05

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Well I figure they are referring to the singular team that eventually wins the Cup. ..therefore "Champion’s League" and a possessive apostrophe.

They cannot, surely, be implying that every team in the competition is a champion? There is all manner of riff raff allowed entry...Liverpool has not won the league in almost 20 years.
Will Leaf
9   Posted 12/05/2008 at 18:09:39

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The English League, that is.
Albert Dock
10   Posted 12/05/2008 at 18:35:12

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Could you please expand on the Eric Blair bit? Expect you are right but I can’t quite see it.

Amontillados 5, brain cells -42,000.
Chris Dawson
11   Posted 12/05/2008 at 19:02:47

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To add to Phil Guyers comments about the top 3 getting automatic places in the Champions League... why not have the play-off as a straight 4th vs 5th place game, with the winner getting the place in the CL and the loser going into the UEFA Cup.

I think that this is probably pie in the sky, but we live in hope...
Jimmy Ianson
12   Posted 12/05/2008 at 20:16:20

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If the red shite finish 6th next year i’m sure the powers that be will quickly rush ths new and exiting format through.
Will Leaf
13   Posted 12/05/2008 at 19:52:43

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Okay, Albert. Let’s see if you like this:

Eric Arthur Blair provided six rules for writers. You have contravened two.

* Never use a long word where a short one will do.

*Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

Perhaps you are trying to be particularly clever and referring to his service for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War. If this be the case, I would argue that this particular aperitif is peculiar to southern Spain, and may not have been widely available in Catalonia, especially during war.

So, surely "sherry" should suffice.
Derek Thomas
14   Posted 14/05/2008 at 06:47:55

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Come over all posh in your old age Mr. Dock, sherry indeed.

This from a Man who allowed, for filthy lucre, his name and face to adorn a Higsons beer mat.

I bet Gwladys Street still stays true to Higsons.
Colin Grierson
15   Posted 14/05/2008 at 15:32:14

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I agree with the sentiment that only the champions should enter a competition of that name, however, this isn’t about to happen and your idea is a sound one as it would also bring in big audiences for the crunch play off games. Sky would love that so it is possibly an idea that Uefa would entertain as money talks.

Good idea and one I’ve never heard mention of before.

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