David Moyes unhappy with threat to West Ham's European ambitions

Hammers blazing a trail in Europa League but new Uefa rules might restrict rewards for those outside Premier League elite

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David Moyes has hit out against potential rule changes to European qualification which could prevent clubs like West Ham mixing with the continent’s elite.

There are reports that the winners of the FA Cup could qualify for a place in the Champions League in the future – but only if they are a so-called big club.

Were the rule in place this season, for example, and if this year’s semi-finalists Chelsea, Liverpool or Manchester City finished outside the top four but won the FA Cup, they could still earn a Champions League berth.

But Crystal Palace, the other team in the last four, would not qualify due to their lack of European pedigree.

The Hammers have blazed a trail to the quarter-finals of the Europa League for the first time this season, knocking out six-time winners Sevilla along the way.

And Moyes hopes clubs like West Ham will not be penalised by a perceived big-club bias in future seasons.

Ahead of the first leg of their first European quarter-final in 41 years, against Lyon, Moyes said: “If we’re honestly talking about a football club who are back in Europe, you would have to say we’re new. We’re the new boys on the block.

“I bet you Uefa were not expecting West Ham to be in this position. But that’s what happens. And that’s why we need to keep encouraging Uefa to bring in other teams.

“Look how well we’ve done. Maybe we might not have got in this competition if there were different rules.

“From that point of view, I really think that we want to show that we can challenge. And if we’re at our best, we’re a match for most teams and we can be.”

Should West Ham triumph over the two legs against the Ligue 1 side, they could face a semi-final against Barcelona.

But Moyes insisted: “We have not even talked a minute other than about Lyon. How could we dare? We wouldn’t.

“It is too big a game, too big a club that we are playing. We’re playing a really strong team in Europe over many years so we find that we wouldn’t even think about it. None of us have considered it.

“One game at a time, it is sad but that is it.”

Full-back Aaron Cresswell was prepared to mention the Catalan giants, however. He said: “We are looking forward to the games and a potential semi-final against Barcelona is massive.

“We’ve earned the right to be there over the last two seasons with how we’ve played in the Premier League.

“In the competition this year we’ve done fantastic, coming up against arguably the favourites who’ve won it six times, to overcome that we are going well.”

Updated: April 06, 2022, 3:29 PM
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