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Friday, May 16, 2008

Man City into Uefa Cup via "fair play".

Manchester City will play in next season's Uefa Cup after claiming a place via the Premier League's fair play table.

England were awarded an extra place in the tournament after the Premier League came top of Uefa's fair play rankings - which also includes a component for "positive play".

Sven-Goran Eriksson's Manchester City side actually finished sixth in the Premier League fair play table, but all the sides above them had already qualified for Europe.

City will now be placed in the the Uefa Cup first qualifying round stage which starts in July.

Manager Sven Eriksson has been quoted on the clubs website as saying "It's like the dream came true - our dream to play in Europe has been strong all season. It's a confirmation that we are a good team, but also a team that behaves well on the pitch."

"It's a step in the right direction because the target for this club in the future is to play in the Champions League, and the Uefa Cup is a very good school to learn about European football."

City, who finished in ninth place in the league table, qualified for the Uefa Cup on the same basis in 2003.

The fair play system awards points based on criteria including respect for opponents and the referee, positive play as well as the number of yellow and red cards received.

City will not be able to host the first qualifying round tie at Eastlands as the pitch is due to be relaid once a Bon Jovi concert has taken place on 22 June.

Huddersfield's Galpharm Stadium, which usually plays host to rugby league in the summer, has been mentioned as a possible alternative.

The draw for the first qualifying round will be made on 30 June, with City placed in the Northern section.

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