Norway, Sweden and Finland have each been granted one additional slot in the first qualifying round of the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League after the publication of UEFA's Respect Fair Play rankings.
The rankings, based on all UEFA competition matches played at both club and national team levels from 1 May 2013 to 30 April 2014, were topped by Norway for the fourth time in six years, earning them an additional European berth along with second-placed Sweden and Finland in third. The same three nations also headed the table last season, with Sweden first on that occasion.
For the final standings, only national associations that have played a minimum of 35 matches are taken into account. This cut-off point is calculated by dividing the total number of UEFA matches by the number of associations. The fair play assessments are made by the official UEFA delegates on criteria such as positive play, respect for the opponent, respect for the referee, plus behaviour of the crowd and of the team officials, as well as cautions and dismissals.
The three associations allocated an extra UEFA Europa League spot will be entitled to enter the club that has won their domestic top-division fair play competition. If this club has already qualified for a UEFA competition, the second-placed team in the domestic fair play league may be entered, and so on.
It is even possible for a side that has been relegated to the second highest division to qualify for the UEFA Europa League, as a result of exemplary fair play conduct during the domestic championship. Only clubs which have received a UEFA licence will be able to participate in the UEFA Europa League.
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