West Ham co-owner says club will take Europa League spot

Europa League Final

West Ham United co-owner David Sullivan has moved quickly to quash rumours he would reject the chance to enter the Europa League via the Fair Play system.

A report earlier this afternoon on the Knees Up Mother Brown website suggested the Hammers could reject the chance to bring European football to the Boleyn for the last time over concerns about its July 2 start date.

But according to his youngest son Jack on Twitter, outspoken owner Sullivan has already poured cold water on the speculation, insisting the East Londoners would not turn down the opportunity.

Speaking on the social networking site, Jack said: "Contrary to reports, if we do get the FairPlay spot to get into Europe we WOULD NOT TURN IT DOWN... Just asked dad."

So there you have it, word from the horse's mouth that should the Irons get the English Fair Play spot they would take it. West Ham are currently top of the Premier League Fair Play standings, followed closely by relegation-threatened Burnley. Importantly, the Premier League is currently in the top three leagues for Fair Play, all of which will be given the extra qualifying spot.

The Hammers last ventured into Europe in 2006 after finishing as runners-up to Liverpool in the famous FA Cup final the season before. Their foray to foreign lands did not last long, though, as they were beaten 4-0 on aggregate by a classy Palermo side for whom 42-year-old goalkeeper Alberto Fontana proved impenetrable, particularly in the 1-0 first leg defeat at Upton Park.

If West Ham do secure a route into next season's competition there is no doubt the earlier start - the Hammers would play a competitive fixture two weeks earlier than a normal summer - and the fact the club could have to play as many as eight games to qualify for the group phase which starts in September, is a genuine concern for the manager.

Whether that manager will be Sam Allardyce remains to be seen, though, as speculation continues to rage about his future at the club, with Swansea boss Garry Monk the latest name linked to the role.

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