Fulham beating Hamburg pushes relegated Burnley closer to shock Europa League place

With Championship football a certainty and manager Brian Laws under fire, it's looking pretty desperate for Burnley next season.

But don't abandon the idea of renewing your season ticket just yet, Burnley fans. If Roy Hodgson's miracle-workers at Fulham go all the way and win the Europa League, the knock-on effect is that you might well be watching top European clubs at Turf Moor after the summer break.

It's all down to UEFA's Fair Play League.

Burnley

Down and out: Burnley have been relegated - but could play in the Europa League

Here's how it could work: The top four in the Barclays Premier League qualify for the Champions League, and the teams finshing fifth and sixth go into the Europa League. So far, so simple.

The winners of the FA Cup would usually earn a Europa League spot too, but, because finalists Chelsea will qualify for the Champions League and Portsmouth failed to apply for their UEFA licence, that will instead go to the team who finish seventh in the League.

Then there is an extra Europa League place available to the countries who finish in the top three of UEFA's Fair Play League at the end of the season.

zoltan gera

Final push: Zoltan Gera (left) fired Fulham to next month's final in Germany

When the rankings were last released in January, England were third. The final table will be revealed in mid-May.

A nd this is where it gets interesting for Burnley supporters. If the rankings stay as they are, the Premier League's Fair Play table will finish with the Turf Moor club in sixth, below Fulham, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United and Chelsea.

If Fulham win this season's Europa League, and so qualify as holders, and with the other four in Europe thanks to their League positions, Burnley would claim the last spot!

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