Cardiff move one step closer to Uefa Cup spot after FA approval

Cardiff City's hopes of playing in European competition next season have improved following a meeting of an influential Football Association sub-committee. Under current FA rules, the Welsh club would not qualify for the Uefa Cup even if they beat Portsmouth in the FA Cup Final next month as Welsh clubs can only qualify through their own competitions.

However a source close to the matter said that the FA's professional game board voted to approve their entry into European competition at a meeting, with their recommendation expected to be approved by the FA's executive board next week.

Michel Platini, the president of Uefa, has expressed his wish that Cardiff participate in the competition and Uefa are ready to discuss the possibility of a wildcard.

Even if Portsmouth beat Cardiff, the Welsh club could qualify for Europe if Portsmouth finish high enough in the Premier League to qualify for the Uefa Cup that way.

And that is something David James is intent on. The Pompey goalkeeper has urged his team-mates not to allow their FA Cup aspirations to distract them from the League. "We've got the FA Cup Final and people could excuse you for taking your eye off the ball in the league," James said. "But we want to finish in fifth place."

Crucial to Pompey's ambitions is the form of midfielder Niko Kranjcar. "I don't think there are many around like Niko nowadays," James said. "He's a similar type of player to Eyal Berkovic in that he's got that ability to do something special and be in great control of the football. Even last year I felt he was a quality footballer and a very, very good player."