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The FFP decision that shaped Wolves’ destiny in this season’s Europa League

Two down, one to go.

After easing past Northern Ireland’s Crusaders and Armenia’s Pyunik so far in this season’s Europa League qualifying rounds, Wolverhampton Wanderers travel to northern Italy to face a much tougher test against Torino – with a place in the Europa League group stage on offer for the victor.

Wolves earned their right to qualify for the tournament after finishing seventh last season, in tandem with Watford‘s crushing defeat in the FA Cup final to Manchester City.

Had the Hornets beat City in the cup final, they would be in Wolves’ place right now.

Fortunately for Wolves , Raheem Sterling had other plans.

 

Opponents Torino also finished seventh in Serie A last season – although this was not enough to qualify for the Europa League, under Serie A rules.

Instead, the reason that Torino are fighting for a place in the Europa League group stage stems from a Serie A rival agreeing to sit out the competition after being charged with violating UEFA‘s financial fair play regulations.

Earlier this year, Milan struck a deal with UEFA to serve a one-year ban from European football for breaching the governing body’s spending rules.

 

The agreement meant Milan would not take their place in this season’s Europa League.

As a result, UEFA agreed to end its proceedings against the Italian club for overspending between 2016-18 – the second three-year accounting period in a row that they had attracted unwanted attention from UEFA.

The reshuffle meant that sixth-placed Roma stepped up to grab a Europa League group stage place, while Torino were awarded Roma‘s former place in the the second qualifying round.

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A Champions League mainstay and multiple winner throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Milan have seen an enormous downturn in fortune in the last few years.

Milan‘s absence from the competition also meant Wolves were guaranteed to be a seeded team going into the play-off round.

Being seeded meant Wolves were able to avoid some of the more trickier sides in the play-offs.



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