Monday 20 May 2019

FAI confirm UEFA licence awarded to St Patrick's Athletic at expense of Waterford FC

Waterford FC owner Lee Power is considering his future within Irish football due to his unhappiness about the episode. Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Waterford FC owner Lee Power is considering his future within Irish football due to his unhappiness about the episode. Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Tony Considine

The FAI seem to have ended any chance of a successful appeal by Waterford FC against their European ban by announcing that St Pat's have been awarded the UEFA licence needed to compete in European competition.

Waterford had been preparing for a first season in European football since 1986 only to be informed last week that their licence application had been denied by UEFA under Article 12.2 of Uefa’s club licensing and financial fair play regulations. The rule states that the club's "membership and the contractual relationship (if any) must have lasted – at the start of the licence season – for at least three consecutive years."

Waterford United were taken over by current owner Lee Power and rebranded as Waterford FC in 2017. However, Power has claimed he had been given "assurances" by the FAI that an exemption would be given.

Speaking last week, he said: "We feel we have been totally misled by the FAI and were given assurances throughout this five-month process by them that the licence would be granted.

"We also had club visits by UEFA Delegates during this period of which no issues were raised.

"As a club, we entered into substantial commercial agreements and invested heavily again into the team and also budgeted for the qualification money due in November. This will now have a serious financial impact on the club going forward.

"The circumstances to which this decision has been made and the events over the last week are unclear and dubious, bearing in mind representations made to us and assurances given.

"We will be asking for a full investigation into the FAI handling of this matter.

"I have instructed my UK Lawyers to lodge an immediate appeal with UEFA and will pursue any legal avenue we have with regards to compensation and/or any wrong doing against a number of parties."

The FAI statement released today made no mention of an appeal and stated: "The Independent Club Licensing Committee of the Football Association of Ireland met on April 24 and awarded UEFA licences to four SSE Airtricity League clubs for the 2019-20 UEFA Club competition season.

"Dundalk FC, Cork City FC, Shamrock Rovers FC and St Patrick’s Athletic FC have all been awarded licences."

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