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Page last updated at 14:21 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 15:21 UK

Evans opposes FA's Cardiff ruling

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Former FAW secretary Alun Evans says the FA's plan to allow Cardiff to play in Europe if they win the FA Cup is a "backward step" for Welsh football.

The Football Association has decided the Bluebirds will represent England in next season's Uefa Cup should they beat Portsmouth at Wembley on 17 May.

The decision was taken despite rules saying Welsh clubs can only qualify via their own national competitions.

"I think it's a backward step for Welsh football," said Evans.

The FA board's decision effectively means Cardiff will now represent the English league in Europe and follows Uefa hints that they would offer the club a wild card spot in Europe if they lifted the Cup anyway.

But Evans says the move will put paid to plans to improve domestic Welsh football and effectively hinder its long-term development.

Evans recently wrote a document entitled 'FAW Strategic Plan 2007-2012' which called for Cardiff, Swansea and Wrexham to be permitted to field teams in the Welsh Premier League.

He suggested the three exiled Welsh clubs be allowed to continue to play in the English Football League but field second teams in the Welsh Premier.

At the moment you might as well say that Cardiff is an English club and has no relevance to Welsh football

Former FAW secretary Alun Evans

If successful in the Welsh Premier, these teams would then qualify for European competitions providing more powerful Welsh representation in Europe than is currently on offer.

This is what has prompted Evans' criticism of the FA's move and he said he was not trying to pour cold water on the achievements of Cardiff in reaching the FA Cup final.

"It's good news for Cardiff City and its fans," he explained. "But in administrative terms and in terms of the credibility of Welsh football on an international basis then I don't think the argument for their entrance into Europe can be sustained.

"For all that Cardiff have played for 80-odd years in the FA Cup, they also played in the Welsh Cup and represented Wales on several occasions through that competition.

"The job of the Welsh FA has been to work towards getting Cardiff back towards representing Wales.

"It would have been far better if we could have worked back towards that or indeed to get a Cardiff team and a Swansea team and a Wrexham team in the League of Wales.

"The reintegration of those clubs into Welsh football structures is now going to be put aside effectively forever.

"At the moment you might as well say that Cardiff is an English club and has no relevance to Welsh football.

"Cardiff are now designated as an English club and so are Swansea and all the other teams playing in England.

see also
Jason Perry column
25 Apr 08 |  Cardiff City
Ledley claims FA Cup semi award
15 Apr 08 |  FA Cup
Uefa plan may hurt Welsh football
07 Apr 08 |  Cardiff City
Uefa offers Cardiff Euro lifeline
07 Apr 08 |  Cardiff City
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales

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