Club qualification to European competitions to be based on sporting merit, UEFA say

UEFA ruling may see Floriana making it into the Champions League if the Maltese Premier league does not continue because of COVID-19 restrictions

The Union of European Football Associations has said that qualifications for next season’s Champions and Europa League should be decided on ‘sporting merit’. 

Top UEFA executives met on Thursday to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the games, issuing a “strong recommendation” that domestic seasons across affiliated organisations are completed. 

UEFA said if the season is unable to finish, each league must determine how 'sporting merit' is interpreted and it must be approved by their association.

Qualification for Europe’s most prestigious competition is determined by Article 4, which states that for clubs to be eligible to participate in the competition, they must have qualified for the competition on sporting merit. 

"Sporting merit 'should be based on objective, transparent and non-discriminatory principles,'" UEFA said in a statement on Thursday. 

It also said that it reserves the right to refuse or evaluate the admission of any club if it sees “a public perception of unfairness in the qualification of the club”. 

In its evaluation, the use of UEFA coefficient points will likely be ruled out. 

European football’s governing body also said it is keen to see the exploration of potential different formats in concluding the season.

“It would be preferable that suspended domestic competitions would restart with a different format in a manner which would still facilitate clubs to qualify on sporting merit," UEFA said. 

The delay in European Championships was also confirmed by UEFA, who said despite the completion being played in the summer of 2021, the competition will still be called EURO 2020. 

Should local teams qualify to European competitons based on theri current league position, Floriana would qualify for the Champions Legaue, while Valletta and Hibernians qualify for the Europa League. 

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