Europa League ‘Fair Play’ Places Announced – Have Newcastle Made It?
When Alan Pardew remarked that he hoped Newcastle wouldn’t qualify for the Europa League via one of this season’s ‘Fair Play’ places, it won a lot of headlines.
The comment maybe deserved to be highlighted but for slightly different reasons.
So have Newcastle United qualified for the Europa League thanks to their Fair Play record this season?
Unless Alan Pardew was being VERY ironic about any possibility of qualifying through this route, then the facts make him look slightly ridiculous.
The matches that were used to decide which countries get the Fair Play places this time, were those played between 1st May 2012 and 30th April 2013.
The top three countries have each been allocated an extra place in the Europa League, the top ten countries ending up as follows;
(1) Sweden (2) Norway (3) Finland (4) Holland (5) Scotland (6) Denmark (7) Germany (8) Spain (9) England (10) Wales
So the three countries receiving an extra place are Sweden, Norway and Finland so well done to our Scandinavian friends for their excellent fair play.
What about though if England had finished in the top three, were Newcastle United in line to get the place?
Again, the simple answer is no.
in fact, the truth makes Alan Pardew look particularly daft and actually the reality is another big black mark against our season.
Newcastle United actually finished BOTTOM of the English Fair Play league! So as well as playing rubbish football most of the season, Newcastle have been the least ‘Fair’ on and off the pitch as well.
We’re in good company at the bottom, the placings being QPR (16th), Villa (17th), Sunderland (18th) Stoke (19th), Newcastle (20th). So we’ve got even worse table manners than Stoke and the Mackems.
UEFA’s criteria is that ‘Fair Play’ is judged on ‘Positive play, respect for the opposition and the referee, behaviour of the crowd and of the team officials, as well as cautions and dismissals’.
So unless this remark was along the lines of the ‘not caring now if Arsenal beat us four nil’ wisecrack, then maybe it is something else that the manager wishes he hadn’t said.
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