Sport Soccer

Friday 23 March 2018

Dundalk get Europa okay

DUNDALK will compete in the Europa League this year after managing to enrol manager Ian Foster on a Pro Licence course in the UK ahead of the July start date, WRITES Daniel McDonnell.

A set of bizarre circumstances have propelled the Lilywhites back into European competition for the first time since 2002, with the collapse of Cork City and Derry City meaning that last season's fifth-place finish took on extra significance over the winter.

However, Foster's lack of the requisite qualifications to manage in Europe left the Louth club facing the prospect of being passed over. Frantic efforts have been made in the past fortnight to seek a resolution, with no Pro Licence course scheduled to take place in Ireland before the summer cut-off point.

The possibility of the Scouser going to Germany to complete his badges was one option, but the former Galway boss has now landed a place in a course being run by the English FA -- with Dundalk thanking FAI CEO John Delaney for helping them out.

"We are very appreciative of the efforts of the FAI, and have no doubt that their recommendations and support for Ian's Pro Licence application played a major part in securing this coveted place," said Dundalk owner Gerry Matthews yesterday.

The club are still examining whether they can play their home games in the competition at Oriel Park, which would need serious refurbishment.

"We will be in a better position to make a decision on both the time and cost issues in the next fortnight when we have analysed the stadium engineer's report," added Matthews.

Meanwhile, Dundalk have been forced to concede defeat in their attempts to sign striker Sam Malsom before July.

The Englishman, whose contract with an Icelandic club recently expired, lined out as a non-contract player with local Devon team Tiverton Town to maintain his fitness before joining Dundalk. Alas, the move backfired as, by registering for that club, he cannot receive clearance to join Dundalk until the summer.

Irish Independent

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