By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger has serious doubts over proposals to introduce a play-off for England's fourth Champions League place.
At present, the top four finishers in the Premier League enter Europe's premier competition. However, if 14 of England's 20 top-flight clubs can reach a consensus, the teams who finish from fourth to seventh could compete for the final berth via a mini-tournament.
Any change would not come into force for three years as the next TV rights deal is already in place, but Wenger would rather the idea never saw the light of day. He explained why before heading to Porto for the first leg of Arsenal's Champions League tie.
"It's an idea, I don't know who brought that up, but I think when you are fourth in the League after 38 games, you do not want necessarily to battle with the team that finished 10 points behind you," he said.
"That's why the table is there - to justify why teams qualify and why they don't qualify. I am not a big fan of the idea but I do not make the decisions in the Premier League."
The play-off system is already used in the Championship with the top two winning automatic promotion to the Premier League while the next four teams battle it out for the final place. However, Wenger believes that a similar format in the top flight could damage the integrity of the Premier League.
"In the Championship it is to get up to the Premier League and I believe as well that it is a completely different problem," said the Arsenal manager.
"Imagine if the team is qualified already for example for the play-offs with five or seven games to go, they could completely disrupt the Premier League and influence the teams who qualify for the Europa League and the teams who go down.
"They know if they are fourth they cannot be eighth anymore and with five or six games to go they can rest all their players and disrupt the Premier League. I believe the League has to be organised in the way that everybody fights until the last game of the season."Copyright 2013 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 16 Feb 2010