How Premier League, La Liga ate humble European pie and Uefa bungled award of extra slots

Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez. 

What you need to know:

First off, the extra places should have been awarded after taking into consideration coefficients achieved over a decade rather than a single campaign.

Fans of English Premier League clubs and their La Liga counterparts have the right to question how Italy's Serie A and Germany's Bundesliga beat them to the extra places awarded to the best performing domestic division in European competitions in next season's expanded Uefa Champions League.

At the beginning of the just ended campaign, it was considered a no-brainer that England's top flight and Spain's Liga Santander would gobble up these places.

After all, until the exit of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who won 13 Ballon D'Ors between them, Spanish teams had dominated European competitions with Real Madrid and Barcelona winning 'Big Ears' in eight of the 15 seasons prior to the current campaign and English clubs Chelsea (twice), Liverpool and Manchester City all taking turns to clinch the continent's most coveted trophy.

Even in European club football's second tier competition, the Europa League, Sevilla's five triumphs over the same period were interspersed by three victories from Atletico Madrid under Quique Sanchez Flores and Diego Simeone and an Unai Emery masterminded triumph for Villarreal in 2020/21.

Ademola Lookman scored a hattrick in the final. 

Chelsea's victories under Rafa Benitez and Maurizio Sarri together with Jose Mourinho's win with Manchester United are more or less the only other winners in the aforesaid period.

Bayern Munich's two Champions League crowns in 2013 and 2020 as well as Eintracht Frankfurt's 2022 Europa League accolade under Oliver Glasner together with Inter Milan's 2010 Big Ears under Jose Mourinho are the only times Bundesliga and Serie A clubs have won European club competitions during the last 15 years.

Mind you, Serie A could actually have six teams in next season's expanded Champions League after Atalanta of Bergamo beat Bayer Leverkusen in Wednesday's Europa League final.

Isn't it a travesty that a division that's won the continent's elite competition just once in one and a half decades can have six places while another with eight triumphs or 17 cumulatively, if you take into account the Europa League, has just four places?

Both Newcastle United and Manchester United finishing bottom of their respective Champions League groups plus the presence of more Italian and German teams in Europe's three premier competitions semifinals, adversely contributed to the Premier League's overall points average which eventually cost them an extra place.

Sevilla's abysmal campaign was meanwhile responsible for La Liga's implosion.

Mind you these extra places aren't just a matter of pride. They are a cash windfall worth anything between €50-100m to participating clubs.

Premier League clubs which take pride in being run on a Profitability and Sustainability model and occupy half of the top 40 positions among the world's richest football clubs should feel this is an opportunity lost.

Part of the blame must of course be borne by European football governing body, Uefa.

First off, the extra places should have been awarded after taking into consideration coefficients achieved over a decade rather than a single campaign.

Secondary to that, points earned by clubs participating in the Champions League ought to carry more weight than those in the Europa League or Europa Conference League lest the prestige of playing in the continent's premier competition is lost.