UEFA‘s Respect Fair Play ranking system which rewards three European nations an extra team to compete in the Europa League is almost set to grant England’s Premier League sides a bonus next season.
The UEFA scheme ranks nations’ Respect & Fair Play over the entire season. This includes all the League matches of a nation, plus the International and European fixtures.
England are 4th in UEFA’s competition, closely behind Finland, Sweden and European’s good boys, Norway.
The best club within each country, with the best fair play of that nation, is then rewarded with a free place in the Europa League next season – providing they haven’t already qualified.
As it stands, Arsenal are the top. But with realistic qualification hopes already it means, Fulham (2nd) and Southampton (3rd) are currently closest to the reward. Liverpool are not far behind, with the next side who could benefit being Norwich City.
Interestingly, Newcastle are bottom, with Stoke and Sunderland just ahead.
UEFA has it’s own, complex ranking system for it’s nations, The following criteria determine the outcomes and scoring;
– Number of Yellow & Red Cards
– Positive play – e.g. Attacking, acceleration of play and minimum time wasting
– Respect to both opponents and referees.
– And the behaviour of both fans and club officials.
England’s last UEFA Fair Play success, in 2008 saw Manchester City qualify for Europe despite having finished 9th in the PL. With the last top 3 finish coming in 2011 and Fulham getting the extra place.
Norway have won this award a massive 7 times – so yes, Norway have the nicest footballers. Andorra are bottom.
The news that England are in 4th may come as a surprise to some, given the fact that as a nation there has been plenty of problems with racism, fans and red cards in recent times, such as Steven Gerrard for England vs Ukraine.
But it appears that in The FA‘s 150th celebration year, England are infact one of Europe most respectful and fair playing countries.
It is very achievable to grab that 3rd place, with Finland not far ahead – meaning a club like Southampton or Fulham could get a pleasant surprise come the summer.
To view the UEFA Respect Fair Play rankings, click here.
To view the Premier League Fair Play rankings, click here.
By Stowe Gregory, tweet or follow – @stowegregory