The Premier League is to look into the possibility of introducing a play-off for the fourth Champions League berth.
At present, the leading four clubs in England’s top division are handed a place in the competition, either in the main draw of through the qualifying stages.
A proposal is to be raised at a meeting of the 20 Premier League clubs which would see the top three progressing, with the teams finishing fourth to seventh then meeting to determine who would take the fourth spot.
Such a move would be seen as an attempt by the league to make the battle for fourth more competitive. The same quartet – Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea – have filled the top four positions in five of the past six seasons.
Only Everton, in 2005, have broken their stranglehold, although the race for fourth this season is currently a tight affair with Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham and Aston Villa all in contention.
The Premier League have not commented directly on the matter, and any rule change would not come into effect until next season at the earliest.
A spokesman said: “We look at all sorts of ideas and rarely make comment until we have decided something definitely.”
If the proposal was to be voted on at any stage in the future, a 14-6 majority could be enough to see it implemented.