Premier League bosses decide against potentially enthralling play-off for Champions League places.
The Premier League has revealed it will not pursue the idea of a play-off for fourth place and the final Champions League place.
At the Premier League board meeting on Thursday, the clubs’ chairmen decided against looking into the proposal any further at this stage.
Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal were reportedly quick to voice their opposition.
However, other clubs were keen on the idea in principle.
The idea, which was put forward at last month’s meeting, was for automatic Champions League spots to go to the Premier League’s top three teams, rather than the top four.
The sides finishing from fourth to seventh would then play in a mini knockout competition.
The proposal drew a mixed reaction from top-flight bosses, with Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez completely against it but Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill described it as “interesting” and one that “people might go for”.
Any change would have also needed the agreement of at least 14 of the 20 Premier League clubs, although there could not have been any changes for three years as the next TV deal is in place.
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore claimed there was “not enough support” for the proposal.
“The main topic of discussion was the Champions League play-off for that fourth qualifying place,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.
“We gave a lot of discussion, a lot of detail, a lot of data. But there was not enough support to take the idea forward, so we won’t be discussing that proposal any further.”
However, West Ham chairman David Gold said the idea was scrapped mainly due to time constraints within the football calendar.
“It was just a physical thing, finding time in the calendar,” said Gold. “We certainly looked at it and the board looked at it but said physically we just can’t do it.
“The clubs that would be involved in a play-off could also be involved in the FA Cup and Champions League, so it just could not be done. They tried but it could not be done.
“It wasn’t a question of being unanimous [in opposition to the idea] or not, there was not a date.
“The very top clubs are not keen on it and you can make a case that they are right. (BBC Sport)
So there you have it, a decent idea in theory but in practice potentially unworkable and likely to be given short shrift by those in the higher echelons of the Premier League. The idea that there is not enough time in the calendar is perhaps a reasonable one but it is worth mentioning that these play-offs could really be completed in the space of ten days at the very end of the season and in years when there are not major summer competitions this would surely be feasible.