Football: West Ham clinch Europa League spot after 'fair play' success

LONDON (REUTERS) - West Ham United have qualified for next season's Europa League after finishing top of the English Premier League's Fair Play table.

European football returns to the London club for the first time since 2006-07 in the final season at their famous Upton Park home before they move to the Olympic Stadium in 2016-17.

"We want to ensure the Boleyn Ground the best send-off possible, and progress in this competition will certainly help with that," West Ham co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold said in a joint statement.

They conceded, though, that the prolonged Europa League qualification system, which begins with the first qualifying round on July 2, will "bring its challenges".

West Ham, without a manager after Sam Allardyce's exit on Sunday, will be among 104 teams entering the competition with three rounds to negotiate before August's playoff round.

England's other Europa League representatives are Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and either Aston Villa - if they win the FA Cup final against Arsenal - or Southampton.