Manchester City's hopes of an automatic berth in the Uefa Cup through the Fair Play League have been dealt a blow by the news that Norway have leapt above England in the national table, reports the Manchester Evening News.
If it stays that way on April 30, the cut off date, then the automatic place will wing its way to Scandinavia leaving the Premier League's representative to enter into a lottery for two other places.
The current international standings include matches played up to and including March 17 so there is still hope that England can bounce back to the top of the list. They have an average of 8.089 points while Norway has 8.12.
Fair Play assessments are made by the official UEFA delegates following criteria such as positive play, respect for the opponent, respect for the referee, behaviour of the crowd and team officials, as well as cautions and dismissals.
Once the UEFA Fair Play ranking is finalised at the end of the season, all national associations that have attained an average of eight points or more will enter a draw to determine which two countries will be entitled, along with the outright winner, to enter an additional team for the UEFA Cup.
England, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Spain and Estonia are the other seven countries currently in the frame for one of the two places awarded via the Fair Play draw and they could be joined by France.
City could, of course, still qualify for the Uefa Cup via the Intertoto Cup but to do that they will have to finish at worst seventh in the Premier League above Aston Villa and Blackburn.