Saturday 20 January 2018

Pompey fight for Euro place

Nick Harris

Portsmouth will make a late application for permission to play in Europe next season but their chances of success are slim at best, and hinge on emerging from administration imminently, an outcome nobody at the club expects.

The financial saga at Fratton Park is being watched keenly by other Premier League clubs, especially Aston Villa, because Portsmouth's participation in Europe next season -- or not -- will impact on whether others get to taste European action.

Usually, Pompey would be on course for a place in next season's Europa League. The Premier League's top-four finishers win entry to the Champions League, the fifth-placed club goes into the Europa League, and so does the winner of the FA Cup, unless that club has already qualified, in which case it goes to the runners-up.

A third Europa League place is up for grabs this term because the Carling Cup winners are awarded one, and Manchester United won it and won't use it. Unlike in the FA Cup, that place doesn't go to the runners-up (Aston Villa) in 2010, but rather to the next best-placed team in the league.

This year, Chelsea -- Portsmouth's opponents in next month's FA Cup final -- are already certain to qualify for the Champions League. That means Pompey, as FA Cup runners-up at worst, should get that berth in Europe.

The complicating factor is that to play in Europe clubs must hold a Uefa licence, and Pompey do not have one because of their parlous financial state.

The deadline to get one was in March (when Pompey were already in administration), and while a late application could theoretically pay dividends, Portsmouth would need to demonstrate to Uefa they are a going concern before being granted a licence. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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