West Ham’s new manager will have Europa League soccer to contend with after the club announced they have qualified through the fair play league.
Just days after the end of the 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.
The east Londoners finished top of the Barclays Premier League’s Fair Play table and will be amongst 104 teams whose Europa League campaign begins with the first qualifying round on July 2.
West Ham have three rounds to negotiate before August’s play-off round determines the 22 teams advancing to the group stage.
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.
“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.”
West Ham will find out their opponents when the draw is made for the first and second qualifying rounds on June 22.
Entering the Europa League at this stage is likely to prove an interesting challenge for Allardyce’s successor.
Former West Ham defender Slaven Bilic is overriding favorite with the bookmakers to replace him and the Croatian has confirmed he will leave Turkish giants Besiktas.
Roberto Di Matteo is second favorite after resigning as Schalke coach, while David Moyes, Unai Emery and Steve McClaren figure prominently on the list.
Rafael Benitez and Jurgen Klopp are others to have been linked to the West Ham job.
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