Date: 15th February 2010 at 3:43am
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A new initiative could see the Premier League introduce an end if season play-off for a Champions League position for teams finishing fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh.

Under the current rules, only the teams that finish first to fourth qualify for the prestigious cup competition, however, with the traditional ‘big 4’ strangle-hold on the qualification berth, the play-offs hope to increase the competition for a place by allowing a greater opportunity for teams to bridge the gap.

The Guardian reports that the play-off proposal was presented on 4th February, and that Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League, is to return with further details in April.

Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are all said to oppose the plans, although the rest of the league is currently in favour. It is thought that while fourth place is under challenge from a number of clubs including the likes of Manchester City, Aston Villa and Tottenham, the play-offs would mean that the rest of the top-flight clubs would have a chance at qualifying in seventh, making for a more exciting league.

A 14-6 majority is required for the changes to be implemented, with current figures showing that it would be approved. A consensus is yet to be reached on the format and timing of the proposed play-off competition, although with the potential for massive amounts of TV revenue, it is possible that a two-leg home and away structure might be favoured.

 

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