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SPL runners-up get Euro parachute

Uefa Cup
The SPL runners-up will have a second chance in Europe in 2009

Uefa has confirmed that Scotland's runners-up will drop into the Europa League next season if they lose their opening Champions League qualifier.

Rangers exited from European competition in August after losing their opening qualifier to FBK Kaunas.

The winners of this season's Scottish Premier League will go directly to the group stages of the Champions League.

The Scottish Cup winners, or possibly runners-up, will join the Europa League campaign in the final qualifying round.

European football's governing body last month decided to replace the Uefa Cup with the Europa League, an expanded tournament designed to mirror the Champions League.

Qualification for the Champions League is also set to change for Scottish clubs, with second qualifying round opponents potentially including a top team from the Netherlands, with sides from the Premier League in England as possible opponents in the third qualifying round.

Scotland's 10th place in the Uefa co-efficient rankings has guaranteed the SPL winners direct progress to the Champions League groups stages, despite the poor performances of Scottish teams in Europe this season.

The fourth-placed team in the SPL will enter at the second qualifying round stage of the Europa League, with the third place side joining them one round later.

This change in structure means that, should the SPL runners-up fail to reach the Champions League, they will automatically enter at the third qualifying round stage of the Europa League.

The side that finish fourth in the SPL face a short summer break, with the first leg of their second qualifying round tie scheduled for 16 July 2009.

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see also
Rangers struggle against minnows
26 Jul 00 |  Rangers


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