The Fair Play Award is given to teams who display positive play, crowd behaviour and respect for referees. If awarded to Aston Villa, Martin O’Neill’s side will play their UEFA Cup first round qualifying matches on July 19 and July 24 or 25, while the second round qualifying matches would be on July 31 or August 1 and August 7 or August 8.
Aston Villa is currently scheduled to play Toronto FC on July 25 and Columbus Crew on July 28. The decision by UEFA whether to grant Villa the Fair Play Award will be made on Tuesday.
According to O’Neill as quoted in the Birmingham Mail newspaper, “Qualifying for the UEFA Cup would change all our pre-season plans.”
If Aston Villa does play its preseason friendlies in the States, it looks very likely that the club will sport its new Nike kit as well as spend time at the Cleveland Browns training facility. O’Neill has visited the facility before with Celtic and has been very impressed.