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West Ham earn Europa League place
26 May 2015 14:02
West Ham's new manager will have Europa League football to contend with after the club announced they have qualified through the Fair Play league.
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Just days after the end of the Barclays Premier League season and news that Sam Allardyce is leaving, the Hammers have confirmed they have secured European qualification for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
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The Londoners finished top of the league's Fair Play table and will be amongst 104 teams whose Europa League campaign begins with the first qualifying round on 2 July.
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SSE Airtricity League First Division side UCD will be one of those sides as they topped the Premier Division’s Fair Play table last season and could meet the Hammers in the first round.
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Ireland finished behind the Netherlands and England in the Fair Play rankings, with the top three countries being awarded an extra Europa League spot.
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Sides qualifying via the system will have three rounds to negotiate before August's play-off round determines the 22 teams advancing to the group stage.
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West Ham's joint-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold said in a statement: "We are delighted to have won a place in the UEFA Europa League as we want to ensure the Boleyn Ground the best send-off possible, and progress in this competition will certainly help with that.
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"Starting in early July will bring its challenges but everyone at the club, from the board to the players and supporters, will be relishing the opportunity to feature on the European stage. It should be a fantastic experience."
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The draw for the first and second qualifying rounds takes place on 22 June.
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Former West Ham defender Slaven Bilic is a short-priced favourite with the bookmakers to replace Allardyce and the Croatian has confirmed he will leave Turkish giants Besiktas.
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