From relegation favourites to Europe

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The Independent Football

Fulham could find out this week if their remarkable escape from relegation will be capped by a place in next season's UEFA Cup.

Manchester City had been the favourites to land England's bonus place in the competition after the Premier League topped the continent's fair play competition.

The place will go to the highest-placed side in the Premier League's own fair play table not to have qualified for Europe by other means.

Until yesterday City had been in pole position but they had skipper Richard Dunne sent off in their 8-1 final game thrashing by Middlesbrough.

Dunne's dismissal could therefore see Fulham, who survived the drop only after Danny Murphy scored a 76th-minute winner at Portsmouth, leap above them.

The table, however, is complicated as it takes into account factors such as respect towards referees and opponents, 'positive play' and behaviour of club officials, as well as red and yellow cards.

The Premier League must await all delegates' reports before the final standings can be compiled and UEFA must then carry out an audit.

Publication is therefore not likely until later in the week or even early next week.

Tottenham had been the country's top-ranked side in the fair play league last week but they have already qualified for the UEFA Cup.

Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal made up the top four with Everton, another qualifier, in sixth. City were fifth with Fulham seventh.

Blackburn, who had been in with an outside chance of snatching an Intertoto Cup spot going into the final game, were bottom.