Cardiff City will represent England in next season's Uefa Cup should they beat Portsmouth in the FA Cup final, the Football Association board have decided.
Under current FA regulations Cardiff would not automatically qualify for Europe by winning the FA Cup – as a Welsh side they would normally qualify via the Welsh Cup. But the FA board yesterday approved a move to allow Cardiff to take the Uefa Cup place if the Championship side are victorious at Wembley next month, a development which would be welcomed by their manager Dave Jones.
An FA statement said: "The Board has given full approval for Cardiff City to participate in next season's Uefa Cup as one of England's representatives, should they win this season's FA Cup. It was decided that the Welsh national anthem would also be played ahead of the game."
Uefa, the European game's governing body, had already signalled that they would offer Cardiff a wild card should they win. Their communications director, William Gaillard, said: "We entirely understood the FA's reasons for their regulations and had no problems with them. We just believed that if Cardiff did win the Cup and were not given qualification for the Uefa Cup then for sporting reasons we would look to offer them a wild card."
Meanwhile, England's bid for the 2018 World Cup will focus on developing the game across the world and will cost an estimated £15m, the FA board members were told yesterday. The board have given the green light to a bid company similar to the one that achieved success with the London 2012 Olympics to be set up and will now start the hunt for a chairman and chief executive.
The FA will base its bid on the benefits a World Cup in England would bring to the world at large by leaving a lasting legacy for the game. FA board members were given a 63-page report detailing the estimated cost and proposed structure.
An FA statement revealed: "The board approved the setting up of a 100 per cent-owned subsidiary company within the FA to manage the bid.
"This would be governed by an executive board made up of a bid chairman, a bid chief executive, the FA chairman Lord Triesman and two deputy chairmen."