Hammers News lifts the lid on the truth about European place extension talk as West Ham target for the run in is made clear.

West Ham are gearing up for two of the most important games in their recent history.

The Hammers take on Sevilla in the Europa League last 16 second leg at the London Stadium tonight before a huge London derby against bitter rivals Spurs on Sunday.

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West Ham have two avenues to reach their dream of Champions League qualification between now and May.

David Moyes’s side know that winning the Europa League will be rewarded with a place in next season’s Champions League group stage.

And a top four finish would also seal a place in the Champions League.

Sevilla FC v West Ham United: Round of 16 Leg One - UEFA Europa League
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Qualifying for the Europa League again, though, would be a fantastic achievement for West Ham and probably more in line with where the team is in terms of its development under Moyes.

Ordinarily, the maximum number of English teams in UEFA competitions is seven. Four in the Champions League, two now in the Europa League West Ham fans have enjoyed so much and one in the Europa Conference League.

There has been a lot of speculation of late, though, that certain permutations could push the European places down the Premier League table as far as eighth or ninth.

Sevilla FC v West Ham United: Round of 16 Leg One - UEFA Europa League
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That has not been helped by flippant claims from commentators and co-commentators during recent games who should really do their research.

Indeed during West Ham’s win over Aston Villa, the commentator on the broadcast coverage suggested Villa had a big incentive because they could well make Europe by finishing eighth or ninth.

But the European place extension talk is simply not true and West Ham’s target is made clear – the Hammers must finish in the top seven and hope either Liverpool, Man City or Chelsea go on to win the FA Cup if they are to qualify for a UEFA competition for next season.

There can only be a maximum of five teams from one country in the Champions League.

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The truth about European place extension talk as West Ham target is made clear

Europa League winners and Champions League winners are guaranteed a spot. So if West Ham won the Europa League and an English team won the Champions League – and finished outside the top four – it would mean only the top three in the Premier League qualify for Europe’s top competition.

Fourth place would then become an additional Europa League spot.

In normal circumstances, two UEL places are given to English clubs who fulfil the following criteria:

  • The fifth-placed team in the Premier League qualify for the group stage proper.
  • The winners of the FA Cup qualify for the group stage proper.

So if the FA Cup winners are one of the Prem’s top five clubs (ie Chelsea, Man City and Liverpool from those that remain at the quarter-final stage) it will push that Europa League place down to sixth.

UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL) qualification:

  • The EFL Cup winners qualify for the playoff stages.
Chelsea v Liverpool - Carabao Cup Final
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Liverpool winning the Carabao Cup (EFL Cup) means their place in the Conference League will be pushed down the league. So if Chelsea, Liverpool or City win the FA Cup it will mean fifth and sixth get Europa League and seventh get Conference League places.

If Leicester won the Conference League – which is a distinct possibility – they would be an additional team in the Europa League next season.

So West Ham’s target is clear. If the Hammers are to make the Champions League they must finish fourth or win the Europa League.

If they are to make the Europa League they must finish fifth or sixth and hope Chelsea, City or Liverpool win the FA Cup.

West Ham United v Rapid Wien: Group H - UEFA Europa League
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If that happens and West Ham finish seventh then they will qualify for the Conference League. While far less glamorous a competition that would at least open up the possibility of another route into the Europa League for the following season.

Anything eighth or below will not result in any form of European qualification for West Ham.

And with the battle for potentially four European spots between five clubs – West Ham, Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Wolves – only one team might miss out.

For the full breakdown of European qualification explained visit the Premier League website.

More West Ham news

UEFA announces unusual UEL draw details ahead of crunch West Ham tie.

Moyes issues crushing injury update and drops big Antonio hint.

UEFA confirm star West Ham duo risk Europa ban.

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