By Rob Kelly
Arsène Wenger says it is “illogical” for whoever finishes fourth to miss out on next season’s Champions League - but he accepts the rule must stand.
Should Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in the May 19 final but finish outside of the Premier League’s top four, they will take England’s final spot for next year’s tournament.
Wenger admits it is far from a perfect situation, but says there is no way around Uefa’s regulations.
“It is not completely fair. But the problem is, if another team wins the Champions League, nothing changes here,” he said. “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 suggests that one solution could be for the fourth-placed team to play the Champions League qualifier as usual - which was discussed when Liverpool won in 2005.
“We had a debate in Geneva about that a long time ago,” he said. “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.”Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source