The Guardian has reported plans for the Premier League to create a play off system to determine who wins the fourth Champions League spot.

The plan is for the teams position between fourth and seventh place will take part in a play off, similar to the Football League promotion play offs, that are clearly very unfair, but are undoubtedly exciting.

Apparently the idea was raised at a Premier League meeting on the 4th February and was enthusiastically supported by every club, apart that is, from Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United (ie. the teams that are currently able to qualify for the Champions League by that old-fashioned virtue of being better at football than everyone else).

The idea is to make the Premier League more competitive, with a greater variety of teams qualifying for the Champions League. You have to say that the timing of this move is strange, in a season when fourth spot is legitimately being challenged for by four teams.

Even if Liverpool finish fourth this season, it is pretty obvious that Manchester City will break up the top four monopoly eventually. With Manchester United and Liverpool not boasting the same financial power that they once did, Arsenal unwilling to spend under Arsene and Chelsea’s team all getting old at the same time, there is plenty to suggest that a changing of the guard is already underfoot.

A league doesn’t need play offs. Every team has played 38 games, which pretty conclusively determine which teams are ranked in which positions. It might be boring that the same old four teams normally qualify for the Champions League, but petty envy is no reason to turn the Premier League into a freak show.

Even though it would help Spurs, I’m against this idea. The play offs would clearly be a huge commercial hit (hey, I’m against the notion, but I’d be first in the queue to watch it) and after a couple of seasons, they’d be looking to expand things.

Why not make a relegation place determined on play offs? Then why don’t the third and second placed clubs play off to determine which team meets the first placed team in the Premier League play off final? They could even make the games only available on pay-per-view and host the games abroad.

Does that sound like the league football that we all grew up loving? It sounds like another nail in the coffin to me.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. “(ie. the teams that are currently able to qualify for the Champions League by that old-fashioned virtue of being better at football than everyone else).”

    I think you mean having more money and illegally tapping up any players that look like they can help other clubs break the monopoly

  2. Sounds like a good idea to me. When you consider that Man City have turned (or quickly will turn) the big 4 into the big 5. No one else – unless they find a billionaire – has much hope of competing for 4th spot.

  3. Have they considered expanding this concept from 4 teams to 20? They could play each other home and away, and the top teams would compete in Europe. Oh, wait a minute….

    Also, in World Cup or Euro years, you’d have FOUR extra games at the end of the season and two extra qualifying games at the start of the next. Completely unworkable….

    • They’d surely have to reduce the league by a couple of teams to make this work, which I doubt would be quite so popular with the Premier League masses.

    • Don’t worry about those extra four games in a World Cup or European Championship year. Clearly it would only involve the top few teams, so it shouldn’t cause a problem for any English players (except in the case of our good selves). Could be a good way of nobbling France, Spain and Holland’s chances.

  4. The play off wouldn’t determine where the team finishes in the league. It would only determine CL qualification. The position in the league still remains the same.

    • Obviously. But you’d be mightily pissed off if you finished fourth and a team some 20 points behind you in seventh, qualified for the Champions League on the back of a couple of penalty shoot outs.

      If this madcap scheme ever comes to fruition there is a certain inevitability that Spurs would finally finish fourth, before getting shat upon in the play offs.

  5. I absolutely agree with Dan”s view on this, the so called top 4 know the game is up and would concur which such a scenario as a safety catch to qualify and feed off thee stuffed european trough, it should definitely stay as it is, an awful lot of fans have endured the smug “top 4” for a very long time, to watch one or two get their comeuppance is just reward i should think!!

  6. Why cant it simply be that the top two teams qualify automatically, then give the remaining two places to the cup winners, FA and Carling, it would make the cups exceptionally valuable and see all clubs treating them better than they currently do. (obviously CL cup qualification would only apply to premier league teams) and in the event that one of the top two teams wins one of the cups then an overall points qualification would be awarded. i.e if Man U win the league and the FA cup then that position goes to 3rd place.
    There may be a reason why this wont work that i cant think of, but it would dramatically improve the cups and would actually reward teams for being Champions and not perpetuate the same cycle of clubs winning the CL money and buying the players (who want to play CL) and keeping them in those top places.
    There is a chance that we could see a relegation form team make the CL but if those cup comps become top level comps then surely only those worthy of CL would make it?
    Guess i just hate seeing Gooners and Liverpool making it every year for simply being 4th best….

  7. Can you imagine the repercussions of missing two seasons without CL football for the likes of Liverpoo/Manure, could spell financial catastrophe for the big finance borrowers? In todays current crisis the banks would call in their debts.

    Not going to happen, just to protect these teams, and no rewards for teams that have for many years kept their books balanced.

  8. What about Platini’s plans ,for 2012, clubs must spend within their means ,meaning that the likes of Chelski and the oil barons, cannot buy the league anymore, or is this not the case, and if so it will not be dominated entirely on money.

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