Athletic Will Qualify For Europe If Cup Final Isn’t Played Before Next Season
Everything in football is interconnected. What a team does one year affects next and often decides who will be competing in which tournaments. Because of this, the uncertainty surrounding the Copa del Rey final could have a significant impact across Europe.
Winning the Copa del Rey comes with the reward of qualifying for the Europa League which means that the final would need to take place before next year’s tournament is scheduled. However, that may not be possible given the ongoing health crisis. UEFA are already in the process of determining which clubs would qualify for European competition if the current seasons cannot be completed which will theoretically include Athletic.
Earlier today, Spanish Football Federation president Luis Rubiales submitted his proposal for which seven clubs will play in Europe next season if the current campaign, including the Cup final, isn’t completed. The delegation voted in favor of the proposal which has now been sent to UEFA.
In the proposal the top six are set based on the current league table. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Sevilla, and Real Sociedad would all qualify for the Champions League with Getafe and Atlético Madrid going to the Europa League. For the seventh and final spot, Athletic will qualify for the Europa League as reward for reaching the Cup final.
If the Cup final cannot be played before the European competitions are set for next season there will be no way to determine a winner. Given that scenario, Rubiales believes the most fair decision is to include Athletic considering that Real Sociedad would already qualify based on their current place in the table.
La Liga are adamant that the season will be able to be completed, though the status of the Cup final is unknown. Both Athletic and Real Sociedad, along with the Spanish Football Federation, are determined to wait as long as possible to ensure that fans can attend the historic match. If the final isn’t played until next season, which is a strong possibility, Athletic will qualify for the Europa League as a Cup finalist.