Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

United 'S Continental Conundrum as Route to Europe Is Mapped out for the Magpies

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

United 'S Continental Conundrum as Route to Europe Is Mapped out for the Magpies

Article excerpt

Byline: LEE RYDER

AS NEWCASTLE United's season hits the final straight, the question remains on the lips of all Geordie fans: Can this really be the year that the Magpies return to Europe? With 10 games left, and 30 points to play for, United still have it all to do if they are to book their tickets for a first European campaign since 2006.

Back then seventh spot was enough to sneak into the Intertoto Cup before Glenn Roeder's team qualified for the old UEFA Cup.

However, with Chronicle readers inundating the sports desk wanting to know what the requirements for qualification would be this year, here is what the Magpies need to do.

In a nutshell, UEFA has allocated three Europa League places to England next season.

One via the league, one to Carling Cup winners Liverpool and one to the eventual winners of the FA Cup.

But that could all change depending on who wins the Cup ... something that may well work in Newcastle's favour.

UEFA will only admit four teams from each country into the competition after amending their rules in 2006.

The long shot of reaching the Champions League would appear all but over for the Magpies.

With eight points between United and Arsenal now it seems to be beyond the Magpies, but a late surge into fourth place would earn a playoff place to contest a spot in the group stages.

However, were Chelsea to win the Champions League and finish outside the top four, the fourth-placed team would go into the Europa League instead.

Failing that scenario, United would need to finish fifth in the top flight to ensure European football.

But with Chelsea five points ahead, United are battling to overcome the Blues, with the April date at Stamford Bridge now a potentially crucial fixture. Finishing fifth would earn United a place in the Europa League play-offs in a game that would take place in August, with the first leg on the 23rd and the second on the 30th. However, there is a possibility of finishing sixth, the place United occupy now, and also qualifying for the Europa League. …

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