Chelsea could become the first premier league club to take out insurance in case the team fail to qualify next season for European cup competitions.

Football clubs have previously been more interested in prize indemnity cover, in case their side wins a prestigious competition and they have to pay their players huge bonuses.

Alan Shaw, Chelsea company secretary, said the club was "considering" buying cover for a sum assured, if it fails to qualify for European competitions after next season. But he added, they had not yet discussed the plan with its brokers, Alexander Forbes, or insurers.

He said the idea came to club officials during Chelsea's extra time defeat in the quarter finals of the European Champions' League. Chelsea lost 6-4 to Barcelona after two legs, but were astonished to learn that the Spanish managers had taken insurance against losing the match.

Shaw said: "It is clear any European football competition can be quite lucrative in terms of television payments and gate receipts."

The pressure on premiership clubs to qualify for a place in the Europe Champions' League is intense.

However, Shaw said the club could not be certain how much of a premium it would be required to pay.

An underwriter at Lloyd's, dealing in insurance for football clubs, said demand for competition cover has mushroomed in the past 18 months.