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Top four qualify for UCL if season cancelled, says Spain FA

Lionel Messi’s Barcelona were two points clear of Real Madrid at the top when La Liga was suspended last month © AFP / LLUIS GENE

MADRID, Spain, Apr 16The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) proposed on Thursday that La Liga’s current standings decide which teams qualify for European competitions if the season has to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

La Liga and UEFA have not given their approval to the plan, with both governing bodies insisting they are still focused on finding a way to ensure domestic seasons are completed.

Javier Tebas, La Liga’s president, said earlier this month the league had identified the end of May, start of June and end of June as possible times for fixtures to restart.

But the RFEF, which regularly clashes with La Liga over political issues in Spanish football, has put forward a back-up plan that would see the current top four – Barcelona, Real Madrid, Sevilla and Real Sociedad – qualify for the Champions League.

Getafe and Atletico Madrid, in fifth and sixth respectively, would go into the Europa League, along with Athletic Bilbao, as the Copa del Rey’s highest-placed finalist outside the top six.

“The decision will be made, when requested by UEFA, according to the positions on the last day of the First Division when an equal number of games are played by the 20 teams,” said the statement from the RFEF.

“The top four at that time would go into the UEFA Champions League and the fifth and sixth ranked, plus one of the two finalists of the Copa del Rey, to the UEFA Europa League, according to different circumstances that may occur.”

If the Copa del Rey final was played and Real Sociedad beat Bilbao, Valencia would take the additional Europa League spot as the seventh-placed team in La Liga, said the RFEF.

Tebas has estimated that a cancellation of the season would cost La Liga clubs around a billion euros ($1.08 billion), when including money lost from European competitions.

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La Liga was halted in the middle of March to limit the spread of coronavirus, which has caused more than 19,000 confirmed deaths in Spain, according to official figures on Thursday.

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