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By ESPN Staff

FA rule out European place for Cardiff City

The Football Association have confirmed Cardiff will not be granted special dispensation to compete in Europe if they win the FA Cup.

Dave Jones' side have reached the semi-finals of the competition for the first time since 1927 - the year they last won it - but under current FA regulations they will not be nominated to represent England in the UEFA Cup if they lift the trophy.

The Bluebirds come under the jurisdiction of the FA of Wales, even though they choose to play in FA competitions.

This leaves them in limbo as neither association can nominate them for Europe - the FA because Cardiff are Welsh and the FAW because they do not play in their competitions.

Cardiff chairman Peter Ridsdale had hoped the FA would put them forward but the governing body have moved today to reiterate their regulations.

An FA spokesperson said: 'Our position remains unchanged and should Cardiff win the FA Cup this season they would not be chosen as the FA's nomination for European competition.

'Cardiff enter into English domestic competitions on this understanding and they are fully aware of the rules and regulations under which they take part.

'These rules remain the same and there would be no scope for Cardiff, or any of the other Welsh clubs in the English system, to qualify for Europe as England's representative.'

As things currently stand if Cardiff wished to qualify for UEFA Cup in future seasons they would have to withdraw from English domestic cup competition and enter into the Welsh Cup.

There have been ongoing negotiations between the FAW and UEFA over ways to allow their clubs into European competition and talks had initially centred round allowing the `big three' exiled teams - Cardiff, Swansea and Wrexham - to field reserve teams in the Welsh Premier League.

That plan was met with scepticism by the League's officials and the other Welsh clubs were hostile to plans which would hamper their chances of securing a European place.

Emphasis shifted towards allowing the exiled clubs to compete in the Welsh Cup and FAW secretary general David Collins has subsequently had a number of meetings with UEFA officials in what he previously described as 'one of European football's biggest challenges'.

Collins hopes to put pressure on president Michel Platini to allow the six Welsh clubs who play outside their national league and in the English pyramid to be readmitted to the FAW-run Welsh Cup - which guarantees a UEFA Cup spot for the winners - although the exiled teams may have to forfeit their place in the FA Cup.

The FAW would need to gain an exemption from current UEFA regulations which state that only clubs playing within the boundaries of their national associations can be nominated for competitions like the UEFA Cup.

There is a similar situation in other European countries where one team is significantly stronger than the rest of the teams in its own domestic league and is forced to play in the league of a different country.

Liechtenstein side FC Vaduz play in Swiss Challenge League (second division) but qualify for Europe by not entering the Swiss Cup and taking part in the Liechtenstein Cup - which as the only professional side in the country they invariably win every year.

'We have a meeting arranged with Monsieur Platini in March and we hope to explore the situation with him and UEFA's general secretary,' Collins told www.welsh-premier.com.

'Obviously there has been an indication that Platini has looked to encourage smaller footballing nations and that is why we are having this meeting to explore our situation.

'We are hopeful but obviously we just don't know. But we wish to see the English-based clubs represent Wales again in Europe should they win the Welsh Cup.'