Sampdoria could lose Europa League place, hope for Inter Milan

Serie A club Sampdoria face an anxious wait to discover whether they will be able to take their place in the Europa League next season after UEFA opened an investigation into their eligibility, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Samp benefitted from Genoa being ineligible to qualify for Europe next season after finishing one place below the cut-off line.

Now the Ligurian city risks seeing both of its clubs scrapped of a place in Europe due to a one-point deduction inflicted on the Blucerchiati for its involvement in a match-fixing scandal three years ago. According to UEFA rules, no club who have been sanctioned in such a way in the past five years should be eligible for a licence to appear in its competitions.

La Gazzetta claims UEFA has therefore asked the Italian Football Association (FIGC) to clarify Samp's position, although the ultimate decision rests with European football's governing body.

Samp will draw some comfort from the fact that, a year ago, Torino were admitted to the Europa League despite having been sanctioned in the same scandal. However, the FIGC forgot to mention that in the application it forwarded to UEFA on behalf of Torino. That oversight meant the Granata's place was never in jeopardy.

This year, the situation is different since the FIGC has filed a correct application which mentions Samp's transgression. Given that precedent, however, Samp would find it difficult to digest an exclusion merely on the grounds of the FIGC doing its job right with them, but wrong with Torino.

In the meantime, Inter Milan watch and wait to discover if they may benefit by earning a route into the Europa League via the back door. Should Samp be excluded, their place in the Europa League would instead go to the Nerazzurri, who finished one position below them last season.