Saturday 21 September 2019

'We feel we have been totally misled' - Waterford owner Lee Power slams FAI over club's Europa League ban

Blues owner Lee Power.
Blues owner Lee Power.
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Waterford owner Lee Power has called for a 'full investigation' into the FAI's handling of the process which led to their rejection for a place in Europe this year.

He made the call in a statement which confirmed Waterford will appeal the decision and are contemplating seeking compensation after budgeting for the €240,000 minimum prize fund.

It was UEFA who made the call on the refusal of a Europa League licence to the Blues, citing a rule related to clubs that have been in existence for less than three years.

Power took over Waterford at the end of 2016, renamed the club and formed a new trading company but that did not satisfy UEFA - it's understood there was an issue related to creditors from the old club.

The Waterford owner is furious because of conversations with FAI staff along the way.

"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," he said today.

"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."

St Patrick's Athletic are next in line to benefit from the Blues misfortune and they had written to the FAI to notify them of concerns they had about Waterford's eligibility.

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