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Everton and the Fair Play League

July start to the season and European hangovers on the horizon?

Gareth Copley/Getty Images

** Update - England have been awarded an extra place in next season's Europa League after a place in the top three of the UEFA 'Respect Fair Play' rankings was confirmed **

Everton could again find their way to European football for the 2015/16 season, this time not a result of their Premier League finish, but rather from the standings of the Fair Play League.

UEFA awards the top three countries in its fair play standings a spot in the Europa League, and England, as of now, is third on the list. Everton are third on the Premier League Fair Play Table behind Liverpool (who should qualify through the standings) and West Ham (by a very narrow margin). If England stays where it is and Everton move past West Ham, it's back to Europe for the Blues, who would have to begin play on July 1st.

Everton performed well throughout the Europa League group stage and in their first knockout matchup with BSC Young Boys, but were eventually knocked out by Dynamo Kiev. The return to European football for the first time in five years was rewarding for the fans, but eventually backfired as the team performed poorly in the league, especially after European competition. The 5-2 loss in Ukraine that saw the Toffees crash out of the Europa League will be a lingering bad memory as well.

Now the Blues could be returning to European football, and manager Roberto Martinez would have to deal with the extra games, travel, and strain on the squad which so many point to as the reason for the team's slide in the league standings this season.

Martinez commented on the possibility of Europe on the Everton website, and here's what he had to say:

"The fair play league is something I don't want to think about because over the years it has had a lot of twists and turns you can't really control. Whatever happens, we will take it."

Looks like the boss is as lukewarm as the pundits on the possibilities for Europe next season.