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European football has long been the backbone of English football with an emphasis on the competition like no other. Across history a total of five English clubs have lifted the trophy at least once, additionally another two have finished runners-up.
The Premier League, however, is about to be given a rude awakening as UEFA is set to revoke the fourth qualifying spot.
It’s has been three years since a Premier League side lifted the coveted trophy with Chelsea taking the honour in 2012. Since then Premier League sides have fallen short in the competition and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
With this in mind, UEFA is looking to revoke the Premier League’s Champions League spots and give it to the Serie A.
A known goal for most Premier League teams is to finish in the top four to be able to qualify for the Champions League. The importance this has put on the League has seen many teams strive to achieve qualification making the last few weeks of the season all the more exciting.
The Champions League has been a fantastic competition for Premier League sides as it not only gives the club a chance showcase their ability on the European stage. The monetary benefits from the competition are also a welcoming bonus for all qualifying clubs.
However, if the fourth spot is taken from the Premier League, the emphasis on actually performing well in European football slips further away as the qualifying sides will set their focus on finishing in the qualifying spots.
With the Premier League being one of the most demanding competitions in Europe, the balance between European and domestic competition has been an issue for all Premier League clubs in recent years.
In a recent press conference, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers commented on the issue saying that the FA doesn’t do enough to help Premier League clubs succeed in the Champions League.
The Liverpool boss believes the pressure of packed fixtures with domestic cups and league football disadvantages English sides in performing in Europe as the demand to perform is so high. In the meantime however, La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A teams are flexing their muscles and asserting their European dominance.
Rodgers statement is true in regards to the demand on Premier League sides to perform across all their fixtures, however, it comes as no excuse for the Premier League teams.
When Chelsea, United and Liverpool won the Champions League, the fixtures were still packed with domestic and league competition. So it offers little resolve to the situation.
The issue in recent campaigns is that Premier League sides have lost their dominant aura across Europe.
Despite all the money and prestige the Premier League has, the teams have lost their European edge, as the prestige of these teams is being met and overcome by such teams as Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus and more.
Already, in the recent Champions League campaign, Premier League sides have a total of three wins from eight matches, whilst it is only early days in the competition, these statistics doesn’t show the Premier League in any better light.
For the Premier League, the only way to reassert their European prestige is to have sides return to dominant performances. Although, all four Premier League sides (Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal) are suffering from slow starts to their campaign, they still have plenty of fixtures to turn results around.
Whilst losing the fourth European spot might not mean the demise of the Premier League’s importance on the competition. It will come as a disappointing decision for a League that has such rich European history.