Waterford will appeal Uefa decision not to grant Europa League licence

Club says they were ‘misled’ by the FAI and had assurances that a licence would be granted

Waterford FC will appeal the decision made by Uefa not to grant a licence for their participation in the Europa League. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Waterford FC will appeal the decision made by Uefa not to grant a licence for their participation in the Europa League. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Waterford chairman and owner Lee Power has said that the club will appeal the decision made by Uefa not to grant a licence for them to play in the Europa League this season.

Uefa confirmed on Thursday that Waterford do not meet the criteria required as the current entity of Waterford FC has technically been in existence for less than three years.

St Patrick’s Athletic, who finished one place below Waterford last season and who wrote to the FAI earlier in the week about the issue, are in line to take their place and, in doing so, earn the estimated €240,000 from the competition which Waterford say they had already budgeted for.

Power claims the club received “assurances” from the FAI that they would be granted a licence having finished fourth in the Premier Division last season. Power has also said that they were visited by Uefa delegates over the last five months and no issues were raised.

“Everyone at Waterford FC are deeply shocked and saddened at the news that we have been expelled from playing in the Europa League this season,” a statement released on Friday by Power read.

“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.”

In his statement, Power has also called for a full investigation into the FAI handling of the matter.

“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,” he said.

“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.

“Finally, I must mention the people who matter the most - The Supporters - who have supported this club through thick and thin and have been badly let down by the people in Ireland governing this process.”

Earlier in the week the FAI confirmed that they had been contacted by St Pat’s who believed they should be the recipient of the European place on the basis that Waterford did not meet the required criteria.

In the letter, the club’s owner and executive chairman, Garrett Kelleher said that St Patrick’s Athletic had taken advice from the European Club Association on the matter. The letter stated that the company that runs Waterford, Power Grade Limited, was only incorporated on December 14th, 2016 and therefore the club did not meet the three-year Uefa rule.

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