Champions League top four rules ‘not completely fair’, says Wenger
Arsene Wenger claims the rules surrounding qualification for next season's Champions League are "a bit illogical"
Arsene Wenger has admitted his frustration at the prospect of Arsenal missing out on Champions League football next season should Chelsea lift the trophy next month.
Roberto Di Matteo’s side are currently sixth in the Premier League table and if the Blues finish outside the top four, they will still be guaranteed a route into Europe’s elite club competition if they beat Bayern Munich in the final – at the expense of the team that finishes fourth.
Wenger’s men, currently third in the table, are three points clear of fourth-placed Newcastle United and six points ahead of Tottenham, but both of the sides below the Gunners have played a game less.
And the Arsenal boss admits the rules, which were drafted in after Liverpool won the competition in 2005 and were allowed to defend their crown despite finishing outside the top four, are “a bit illogical”.
“It is not completely fair,” he told a news conference on Friday. “But the problem is, if another team wins the Champions League, nothing changes here. So it is a bit illogical that your team finishing fourth is not involved in it.
“It is the rule that everybody knows before the season starts, nobody complained and if Chelsea win then England will have four clubs represented in the Champions League. We have to accept it.”
Wenger believes that a solution could be for the team that finishes fourth to be allowed play a qualifier as usual, meaning five English teams could end up in the competition.
“We had a debate in Geneva about that a long time ago,” Wenger continued. “At the start, the winners of the Champions League were not qualified if they did not qualify normally in the championship.
“We decided that it is unfair that the winner of the Champions League should not have a chance to defend the trophy.
“But the surprise of the season is that Chelsea, who are not even in the Champions League places at the moment, nor Bayern, are not top of their leagues.
“That shows you how unpredictable the Champions League is because nobody would have predicted this season that the final would be Chelsea against Bayern Munich.”