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Yellow Submarine claim they were told seventh place would be good enough

Villarreal are to challenge UEFA's decision to deny them a place in next season's Europa League, claiming that European football's governing body had sent them notification earlier this month stating that a seventh place finish in the league would ensure they competed in Europe's secondary competition.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) are understood to be backing the Yellow Submarine's bid, which would result in Spain having eight teams competing on the European stage next season.

RFEF and Villarreal were both advised, in separate memos, that the seventh place team in the Primera Liga would not participate in the Europa League but Villarreal president Fernando Roig is disputing that, claiming to have an earlier memo stating that seventh place would result in Europa League qualification.

"There are contradictions in reports from UEFA and that is an asset for us. We have taken all the steps and now we have to wait," RFEF secretary general Jorge Perez told Super Deporte.

Roig was adamant that UEFA's earlier memo stated in clear terms that the seventh placed team in the Primera Liga would take a Europa League spot in the event of Sevilla winning the Copa del Rey and Atletico Madrid winning the Europa League, which is exactly how it transpired in recent weeks

""We have a communication from UEFA in which they made it clear to us all the cases in which we could qualify for the Europa League. The letter, which is held by the club, detailed exactly what would happen if Sevilla was champion of the Copa del Rey and Atletico [Madrid] won the Europa League, the seventh ranked team would take one of the places. There was no room for doubt," Roig noted.

The confusion is reminiscent of 2005, when Liverpool, as UEFA Champions League holders, failed to secure automatic progression back into the competition by finishing in fourth place in the English Premier League as the English FA had awarded the final place to city rivals Everton who had finished fourth.

As a result UEFA had to give the Reds a special dispensation to compete as champions and since amended their qualification criteria to prevent further confusion but now it seems they may have a similar problem on their hands.

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