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Netherlands, England, Ireland get Fair Play bonus

The Netherlands, England and the Republic of Ireland have each gained an extra place in the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League after topping UEFA's Respect Fair Play rankings.

The Netherlands has been rewarded for its sides' behaviour in UEFA games
The Netherlands has been rewarded for its sides' behaviour in UEFA games ©Sportsfile

The Netherlands have finished top of UEFA's Respect Fair Play rankings, based on all UEFA competition matches played at both club and national team levels from 1 May 2014 to 30 April 2015.


Winners the Netherlands, second-placed England and third-placed Republic of Ireland will each be granted one additional slot in the first qualifying round of the 2015/16 UEFA Europa League.

For the final rankings, only associations that have played a minimum of 37 matches are taken into account. This cut-off point is calculated by dividing the total number of UEFA games by the number of national associations.

The Fair Play assessments are made by the official UEFA delegates on criteria such as positive play, respect for the opposition, respect for the referee, behaviour of the crowd and of the team officials, as well as cautions and dismissals.

The three associations that are allocated an additional UEFA Europa League place 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 competition may be entered and, should they also have already qualified, the third-placed side would be considered and so forth.

It is even possible for a team that has been relegated to the second highest division to qualify for the UEFA Europa League as a result of its exemplary conduct during the domestic championship. Only clubs which have received a UEFA licence will be able to participate in the UEFA Europa League.

As approved by the UEFA Executive Committee on 4 December 2014, the new UEFA Fair Play regulations will enter into force at the beginning of the 2015/16 season. As a transitional arrangement, all matches played during the months of May and June 2015 will also be included in the assessment of the 2015/16 campaign. Updated assessment methods and a new reward system have been set out in the 2015 edition of the UEFA Fair Play regulations. Three different fair play rankings will be calculated:

1) Overall fair play: the association with the highest overall fair play score

2) Improvement in overall fair play score from one season to the next: the association whose overall fair play score has improved the most since the previous season

3) Behaviour of spectators: the association with the highest final score for this criterion

As of the 2015/16 campaign, the winners of the three new rankings mentioned will no longer be given places in the UEFA Europa League. Instead, the association rated highest in each of the three categories will be awarded prize money to donate to amateur or professional clubs of its choice, for fair play or respect-themed projects. The UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee will decide on the amount of prize money awarded at a later stage.

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