West Ham to discover European fate this week says co-owner David Gold

West Ham United fans should dust off their passports and put any summer holiday plans on hold as the club learns its Europa League fate this week.

That's according to co-owner David Gold who says the results of the complicated backdoor entry through the Fifa Fair Play route should be announced in the coming days.

The Hammers topped the English Fair Play table at the end of April which was the cut-off point for club behaviour - including that of officials and fans as well as the first team - to count towards the process.

Therefore should England finish in the top three nations - they were third when the European standings were announced at the end of the last calculation period on March 31st - then the Hammers would be awarded a qualifying place for next season's Europa League.

Speaking on social networking website Twitter on Sunday, Gold responded to a fan who had asked when an announcement would be made by simply saying: "End of next week."

The former Ann Summers chief has previously described the process as 'extremely complicated' but insisted the club would take a Europa League place if it is offered to them.

Since the tweet, he has reportedly told fans' website Claret and Hugh it would be the 'right thing to do'.

He said: “I think the fans would want that in our last Boleyn season. I think it’s the way we would go.”

Should the Hammers qualify, it will be the first time they have been in European competition since the 2007-08 season when they were knocked out of the UEFA Cup by Italian side Palermo 4-0 on aggregate.

For those fans who believe in fate there is reason to dream. This will be the last time any team qualifies for Europe through the Fair Play system as it is being abolished in favour of a cash prize for the respective clubs.

Therefore the Irons could find themselves in the Europa League for the final season at their famous Upton Park home and should they go on and win the competition they would automatically qualify for the Champions League for the first season at their new Olympic Stadium in 2016-17.

But those fans whose feet are firmly planted on the floor will perhaps take a slightly more pessimistic - or realistic depending which way you look at it - view.

They would cite the early June start of the Europa League qualifiers, the disruption as a result by the Thursday-Sunday match calendar, the added games and constant travel across Europe as real causes for concern during such a crucial period for the club.

The club would also surely have to significantly improve a squad which has just about coped with the demands of the Premier League and domestic cups this season.

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