Europe Beckons?

Sunday, 11 May 2003, 0:00
2 mins read

Home >Story Index> European Football Back On The Agenda?

The debate had lasted a long time on whether the three sides should be allowed into European competition with no route being currently available for any of them to compete amongst the elite in Europe. Even a top six finish in the Premiership, FA Cup or Worthington Cup win would not be enough for the sides and all three have voiced their opinion that they should have some route open to them.
Now it is reported in Wales on Sunday that UEFA would look strongly at a proposal to allow the winners of the FAW Premier Cup to represent Wales in the UEFA Cup. The winners of the current Welsh Cup have this available to them and a UEFA spokesman is quoted as saying “There are countries who get UEFA Cup places from two separate cup competitions. They are England and France so it would be considered.”
The same spokesman also indicates that if they were to receive a proposal stating this then it would be ‘strongly considered’ although he did stress that applications would need to be in well before the start of the season. It appears from the statement that the ball lies in the court of the FAW.
Of course they have plenty to gain by putting forward the proposal. In recent years we have seen weakened sides from all three Welsh clubs (although we have played stronger sides in the last two seasons) but with a European spot at stake then you could expect that the sides would want to play nearer full strength to improve their chances of winning the competition.
I goes without saying that UEFA could easily award a place for the competition and ban all three league clubs from winning that place on the basis that they are competing in the English league structure. If that were to happen then we’d need to voice our own thoughts with the FAW to make sure that they fight our corner rather than sitting back and allowing it to happen, which is the norm as far as they are concerned. Far be it from me to be cynical but they will sit up and listen if Cardiff lead that rally than if it was ourselves or Wrexham.
Since the three Welsh clubs were denied their access into Europe, Welsh clubs have done very little with Barry Town becoming the first side to progress past the opening qualifying rounds of the Champions League last season. All three league clubs have experienced success in Europe in the past and although the heights will not be scaled again, it is easy to argue that the quality of the players should improve from the experience. At a guess I would imagine that Messrs Flynn, Smith and Lawrence would be only too willing to test their squads in Europe’s secondary cup competition.
It will be interesting to see if the FAW put anything forward by means of proposal and this time maybe they will see the bigger picture. They took away the European place in a bit to entice the three sides into their League of Wales, it failed. It is now time for them to sit up and realise that they need to have the strongest representation possible in Europe and fight the corner of Swansea, Wrexham and Cardiff.
After all, Cardiff are bigger than Barcelona 😉

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