'They have instigated this' - Waterford hit out at St Pats over Europa League exclusion
As the fallout deepens over Waterford's exit from the Europa League before they even entered the draw, Blues boss Alan Reynolds has called out St Patrick's Athletic for their involvement.
The Saints, who finished behind Waterford last season, always argued that they were entitled to the FAI's fourth European spot on the basis that the south-east club were ineligible. UEFA rules decree clubs must be three years in existence, throwing up questions over Waterford.
Lee Power followed his takeover in late 2016 by starting a new company and dropping 'United' from the club's name. UEFA last Thursday agreed with the viewpoint of St Pat's, sparking outrage among Power and the Waterford fanbase.
Midfielder Shane Duggan, who scored in Friday's 2-0 victory over Cork City, admitted the players were left devastated. Reynolds shares Power's anger, contending St Pat's were responsible for the bombshell and that the FAI led them down the garden path.
"St Pat's should not have instigated this," said Reynolds, who was assistant to Liam Buckley in Inchicore in 2014 and 2015.
"If we're getting thrown out by UEFA, good luck to St Pat's taking our place. But that doesn't seem to be the case. St Pat's have instigated this."
Reynolds has also raised questions over the FAI's licencing process. A compensation claim is due to be lodged against a governing body Power wants investigated over the handling of this affair. It's a far cry from only a fortnight ago, when the former Ireland under-21 international was publicly supporting embattled Executive Vice-President John Delaney.
"Why did the FAI give us their own licence in February when €250,000 of our budget was based on European income?" added Reynolds.
"Of course, nobody will take the blame. Lee had told me that there was no debt left (under the previous company) and he'll be the one making the next move."
The Waterford native conceded that the joyous scenes at the RSC on Friday night are relative to the blow of being unable to end their 32-year wait for a European return.
"We had a great win against Cork City but it won't replace European football," he said. "Players were attracted to sign for us by European football in July."
Duggan said: "As a League of Ireland player, Europe is the highest level you can compete at. It's just devastating.
"I don't know what's going to happen, whether the decision can be overturned. We just need to keep going and climb up the table."