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We're all going on another European tour... or are we?

Tidal wave on the Thames, part two?
Tidal wave on the Thames, part two?

Fulham's chances of a second appearance in the Europa League have been given a major boost with confirmation from UEFA that England will receive one of the three fair play spots available in the 2011-12 competition.

Now all that is required for another European tour, albeit one starting in the first qualifying round (scheduled to begin in late June), is for Fulham to finish above any other side that hasn't already qualified for Europe in the Fair Play table.

While England's spot in the Fair Play table was calculated by only taking into account matches up until the end of April, the Premier League Fair Play standings encompass the entire season. This means that Fulham's forgettable performance against Liverpool and Sunday's win at St Andrews may cost the Whites dearly, as Fulham collected five yellow cards in both matches.

Currently Fulham occupy second spot on the table behind Chelsea, though Tottenham are equal on average. Due to the out-of-character run of bookings, there's a risk that Spurs might overtake Fulham in the final Fair Play rankings to be calculated following Sunday's games.

Of course, Spurs may still qualify for Europa via their league position. Tottenham's win at Anfield was a handy result for Fulham fans hoping for a summer spent abroad watching the Whites.

Should there be more bookings on Sunday in the battle of the water bottle-abusing managers, there's also the outside chance that either Blackpool or West Ham could overtake Fulham and nab the Fair Play spot. UEFA has made it clear that relegation is no barrier to participation in the competition.

For Fulham to have the best chance of qualifying, ideally we'd want Tottenham to beat a struggling Birmingham at White Hart Lane on Sunday so Harry Redknapp's side seal up fifth spot. It would also be ideal if the referee at the Cottage keeps his cards in his pocket and that Mark Hughes leaves the water bottle theatrics to Arsene Wenger.

Some have speculated that the players and the management staff may not want the hassle of Europa, particularly given how early the side would need to start.

Brede Hangeland voiced his reluctance today: "It is bad if you get that Europa League spot because you have to start playing games too early."

"For Premiership teams, we play 11 and a half months a year. You can't ask teams to play in the middle of the summer, or at a time when the players should really be on the beach resting," Hangeland said.

Hopefully the apathy to starting in late June isn't widespread in the squad, as starting at such an early stage in the competition would allow Mark Hughes to rest some of his senior players anyway.

The finalised Premier League Fair Play table will be confirmed next week once the season concludes, giving us all plenty of time to convince partners or friends that the likes of Azerbaijan or Moldova make an attractive holiday destination in late June.