Sheffield United could miss out on a European place for next season if this current one isn’t finished, according to The Sun.
The report says that both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur could qualify in their place, despite being eighth and ninth in the table respectively.
Uefa’s priority is to complete the 2019/20 domestic campaigns. The Premier League has been indefinitely suspended since March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Europe’s football governing body wants to restart the leagues by June. They apparently outlined this plan in a recent video conference with all 55 member associations.
However, if that proves impossible, a new system will have to be identified to decide which teams play in next term’s Champions League and Europa League.
So why will Sheffield United miss out on a European place?
As things stand, the seventh-placed Blades would be in a position for European qualification. In the English top flight, the top four qualify for the Champions League and fifth goes into the Europa League. They are then joined by the winners of the FA Cup and League Cup.
If those respective cup winners have already qualified for Europe via the league, then their places go to sixth and seventh place.
The FA Cup, including United, has also been suspended at the quarter-final stage. Manchester City won the League Cup, but are second in the table.
But City have also been banned from Uefa competitions for breaching Financial Fair Play rules. They have appealed the decision, but if it’s upheld qualification for Europe could go to eighth place.
It has previously been reported that, if the season isn’t finished, there are three options. All of them would see the Blades make it into Europe.
Yet this new report claims that wouldn’t be the case. Instead, England’s places would be determined by Uefa coefficients.
This would see ninth-placed Arsenal join Liverpool, Man City and Manchester United in the Champions League. Spurs in eighth will qualify for the Europa League alongside Leicester City and Chelsea.
If City are banned, then Tottenham will take their place in the Champions League. The next English club in the coefficients is Wolverhampton Wanderers, who would presumably then qualify for the Europa League.
This scenario would seem grossly unfair on the Blades, who would be punished by virtue of not having a European history. Rather than how well they have performed in 2019/20.