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Soccer-West Ham on course for fair play Europa League spot

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LONDON, May 8 (Reuters) - West Ham United are on course for a place in next season's Europa League after UEFA said on Friday that the Premier League would be granted an additional fair play place.

England finished second in UEFA's fair play table, behind the Netherlands, and will earn an extra spot in the Europa League's first qualifying round.

"Winners Netherlands, second-placed England... will each be granted one additional slot to the first qualifying round of the 2015-16 UEFA Europa League," UEFA said in a statement.

"The fair play assessments are made by the official UEFA delegates on criteria such as positive play, respect of the opponent, respect of the referee, behaviour of the crowd and of the team officials, as well as cautions and dismissals."

Liverpool top the Premier League's fair play league but Brendan Rodgers's side sit fifth in the league and are expected to qualify for Europe.

West Ham, second in the fair play standings, are primed to take the vacant spot but Everton, who are 11th in the Premier League, are third in the table, with Manchester City fourth and relegation-threatened Burnley fifth.

City look likely to qualify for Europe via the Champions League, however, so Burnley could play in the Europa League even if they are relegated to the Championship.

There are three Premier League matches remaining and West Ham host Everton in the penultimate round of fixtures.

The teams finishing fifth and sixth in the Premier League qualify for a Europa League spot but the seventh-placed team could also get in if second-placed Arsenal win the FA Cup as they would relinquish their place having all but reached the Champions League. (Reporting by Michael Hann, editing by Ed Osmond)

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