St Mirren face potential European blow after being refused UEFA club licence

St Mirren v Celtic – Scottish Premiership – Simple Digital Arena
(Image credit: Jeff Holmes)

St Mirren face a potential European disappointment after being refused a UEFA club licence.

The Scottish Football Association has published details of licence applications and Saints join Livingston in sweating over their application.

The Paisley side face St Johnstone in the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup on Sunday. The winners of the competition are set to enter the Europa League play-offs with the guarantee of group stage football in the new Europa Conference League even if they lose.

St Mirren, who last qualified for European competition when they won the Scottish Cup in 1987, would have to appeal for special dispensation to take their place if they went on to lift the trophy.

The Buddies have been listed as gold standard overall, higher than Rangers, who are silver, but their licence award was refused.

They were awarded gold status for their ground, first team and legal/admin/finance codes but their youth set-up has been classed as silver. St Johnstone have the exact same results and have been granted a licence.

The Paisley club are said to be seeking clarification from the SFA over the refusal.

St Mirren state on their website that their youth academy is the only one in Scotland outside of Celtic and Rangers to reach a “5 Star Elite rating” from the SFA.

“The criteria-based system requires that the Academy reaches certain standards in a range of different areas, from medical facilities, coach qualifications and technical/tactical development plans,” the website adds.

Saints have had a number of academy graduates in their first team this season including Ethan Erhahon, Cammy MacPherson, Jay Henderson and 16-year-old Dylan Reid, who rejected a move to Bayern Munich in order to extend his Buddies contract.

Livingston manager David Martindale last month stated his club were hoping to secure dispensation from UEFA on the grounds of sporting integrity.

Livi do not have a functioning youth academy but had several teams and coaches set up before the pandemic hit. They are rated bronze in all other categories.

Livi would only qualify for Europe if they finish fifth in the Scottish Premiership and Hibs win the Scottish Cup.

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