FAW loses court case

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The Independent Online
The High Court in London yesterday ruled in favour of three non- League clubs - Newport AFC, Caernarfon Town and Colwyn Bay- in their challenge to the Football Association of Wales, writes Rupert Metcalf.

The FAW had banned the three clubs from playing in English leagues at their home grounds in Wales for two years, because of their refusal to join the Konica League of Wales in 1992. Mr Justice Blackburne rejected FAW claims that the ban was necessary to protect the Konica League's representation in European club competitions, and ruled it was a restraint of trade.

The FAW will debate an appeal against the ruling at a full council meeting tonight. "If the [Konica] League does lose its European places, then it will be a case of never have the interests of so many been sacrificed for those of so few," John Deakin, the FAW secretary, said.

Fifa, world football's ruling body, will now seek to enforce a decision, announced last week, which bans the three clubs from playing football from next season, as a punishment for initiating the court action in defiance of Fifa rules. Fifa and the Football Association, under whose auspices the three clubs play, are now on collision course.