UEFA rejects Welsh plea for European places

Welsh clubs playing in English competitions will not be allowed a route into Europe through the Welsh Cup, UEFA ruled on Wednesday.

A plea by the FA of Wales (FAW) to UEFA to allow their clubs playing in England to qualify for the Europa League via the Welsh FA Cup was again rejected by the European governing body's executive committee as it was 11 years ago.

A number of Welsh clubs, including Premier League Swansea City, Championship side Cardiff City and lower league teams like Wrexham, Newport County, Colwyn Bay and Merthyr Tydfil all play in the English league pyramid and take part in the English and not the Welsh FA Cup.

Swansea and Cardiff, and occasionally Wrexham or Newport, were regular qualifiers for the old European Cup Winners' Cup through winning the Welsh Cup.

Now Welsh representation in Europe is usually limited to the qualifying rounds of the Champions League and Europa League through the more minor League of Wales.

Wales last approached UEFA to change the rules in 2001 but the plan was rejected then.

Cardiff would have been allowed to play in European competition as one of England's representatives in next season's Europa League if they had beaten Liverpool in last month's League Cup final, or in 2008 when they lost to Portsmouth in the English FA Cup final.

However, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino told a news conference following the European body's two-day executive committee meeting that it had again rejected the idea.

"The basic principle is that if you decide to play in England, as these Welsh clubs are doing for historic reasons starting before the league in Wales existed, then your path to Europe is through that country," he said.

"You play in one country and qualify through that competition."


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