How UEFA's 'sporting merit' preference may have significant impact on Sheffield United's European hopes

Sheffield United could be in line to secure a first-ever European adventure if the current Premier League season is unable to reconvene due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 1:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 1:11 pm
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has paid tribute to the professionalism of his players during the coronavirus crisis: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire.

United were seventh in the top-flight when the campaign was paused, to halt the spread of Covid-19. But crucially they have a game in hand of most of their rivals for a European place.

Although it remains UEFA's "strong recommendation" that competitions are played to a finish wherever possible, media reports suggested that other factors may be used to define who gets into Europe if that cannot happen.

But, in a potentially-significant boost for United, sporting merit will be decisive.

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The UEFA executive committee has concluded and the PA news agency understands that domestic on-field performance up to the point of suspension will be the guiding principle used in competitions that cannot be completed.

How sporting merit will be defined is not yet clear, but may be a system based on points per game - which would currently see United finish sixth in the league, above Wolverhampton Wanderers.

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