O'Neill backs Champions League idea

16 February 2010 03:58

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has given his blessing to early proposals for a play-off for the fourth Champions League place.

At present, the top four places in the top flight are guaranteed a Champions League spot, either directly into the competition or via a qualification round. However, the possibility of a play-off system would see only the top three teams given automatic entry, with those finishing fourth to seventh fighting it out for the remaining coveted spot.

"It's quite interesting. I wouldn't knock it immediately, particularly if we finish seventh in the league!" O'Neill is quoted as saying in the Express & Star.

"I know the team who finished fourth would be galled if that was the case, but if you knew the rules in advance at the start of the season then you know the parameters.

"The Premier League seems rather glamorous, but it's a constant struggle.

"You always feel as though relegation is haunting you. You want to get into the middle section of the table and then at the end of the season there could still be a charge for this spot."

The idea is unlikely to enamour the 'big four' of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool who have claimed the top four places in five of the last six seasons.

However, as any Premier League vote requires a 14-six majority, the remaining clubs would likely be in favour.

"It would be interesting to see what all the Premier League clubs thought about it, because there has to be 14 in agreement," added O'Neill.

"Outside the top sides I think people might go for it."

Source: PA

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