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Play fair for a shot at the Europa League: Fulham set for a good guys' prize

18 May 2011 00:20:54

Play fair for a shot at the Europa League: Fulham set for a good guys' prize

ShareIgnore, for a minute, the fact that Tottenham and Fulham appear to consider it the season's booby prize and the Fair Play League is a triumph of old-fashioned English manners and courtesy. Reinforcing crude national stereotypes across Europe, the top of UEFA's ranking table is dominated by the Scandinavian nations famed for their ice-cool temperament, with Norway at the summit on 8.293 points. The passionate, impulsive Greeks, meanwhile, find themselves at the bottom. So, English football can point to UEFA's Fair Play table and claim to produce a cleaner, more orderly spectacle than the rest of Europe, outside Norway. Yellow peril: Fulham's Danny Murphy (second right) is booked by Lee Mason The top three are rewarded with an extra place in next season's Europa League. In the Barclays Premier League, fair play leaders Chelsea are in the Champions League, so this honour will be bestowed upon either Fulham or Tottenham, even if they are not turning cartwheels at the prospect of starting the campaign at the end of June. It is a complicated process but this is how it works. This month UEFA will publish their final ranking table, based upon marks awarded through the season by match delegates. European wish: Mark Hughes would be happy to qualify for Europe via Fair Play After each UEFA game (Champions League, Europa League or Euro 2012 qualifier), delegates fill in a form with the help of the referee, awarding marks in the following six categories. Red and Yellow Cards (maximum 10): Minus three points for a red, minus one for a yellow. Real Madrid would have scored four in the first leg of their Champions League semi - f inal against Barcelona. Some teams could end up with a minus score. Positive Play (max 10): This includes playing attractive football, minimising stoppages, going for goals even when the game is won. Points deducted for things like time-wasting, playacting and dull tactics.Respect Opponents (max 5): Points gained for positive things like helping an injured opponent. Points lost for naughty gestures like imaginary cards or screaming abuse at an injured player. Respect Officials (max 5): Accept doubtful decisions without protest, is the advice. Don't intimidate the referee, don't accuse officials of cheating and don't rage down the lens of a live television camera.Team Officials (max 5): That's managers, directors, etc. Their conduct should be calming, not provocative. From the touchline antics of the manager (take note, Jose Mourinho) to the smile from the man on reception, these little things count. Also includes media co-operation, such as turning up for press conferences.Crowd Behaviour (max 5): Points for singing in support of your team but points lost for antagonising or abusing opponents, their fans or the referee. Flying a biplane trailing an insult would presumably be frowned upon, too. This section is ignored if no fans turn up.These marks are added up, divided by the maximum total (usually 40), then multiplied by 10 to three decimal places to produce the team's score for that game. Simple. The average is worked out at the end of the season depending on how many games each country has been involved in. English teams played 148 UEFA games in the year ending April 30, 2011, more than any other country. At the same time, the Premier League compile their own Fair Play table, based on marks from their own delegates on the same six categories. So when UEFA send out the invite for an extra Europa League place, they can inform the relevant club to cancel their summer holidays.  Bring it on! Hughes relishing Fulham's Europa League opportunityFulham to move for Paul Konchesky with Carlos Salcido set to return to MexicoAll the latest Fulham news, features and opinion  Explore more:People: Jose Mourinho Places: Barcelona, Norway, Europe


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