Welsh 'exile' clubs to be offered route to Europe
Wednesday 14 March 2012
Welsh 'exile' clubs such as Swansea and Cardiff are set to be given the option of qualifying for Europe via the Welsh Cup - but would have to withdraw from the FA Cup to do so.
The ban on Welsh clubs playing in the English league representing Wales in Europe has been in place since 1995.
UEFA's executive committee will rule next week on an application by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) to allow exiled clubs to be admitted to European competition via the Welsh Cup.
FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford said that if UEFA give the go ahead, any exiled club choosing to do so would have to opt out of the FA Cup, and possibly the Carling Cup as well.
Ford believes there is little prospect of Swansea or Cardiff doing so, but that it might appeal to a club such as Wrexham, who are currently second in the Blue Square Bet Premier, and could enjoy considerable financial benefits from qualifying for the Europa League.
Bangor City, current Welsh Premier League champions, are estimated to have earned around £1million from their last three seasons in Europe.
Ford said: "The proposals will allow any club playing in English leagues to choose to enter the Welsh Cup and try to access European competition that way.
"They would have to choose between the Welsh Cup and the FA Cup however. I think it is unlikely they would be allowed to play in both competitions.
"But if they came back into the Welsh Cup they would have a guaranteed place in Europe should they win the cup."
Newport County, Colwyn Bay and Merthyr Tydfil are other Welsh clubs that play in English leagues.
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