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By ESPN Staff
Apr 7, 2008

UEFA to hand Cardiff European wild card chance?

LONDON, April 7 (Reuters) - Cardiff City's hopes of playing in next season's UEFA Cup were lifted on Monday when the FA said it would re-examine their case and UEFA said it would consider giving the Welsh club a wild card entry.

The Championship (second division) team beat Barnsley 1-0 on Sunday to earn a May 17 final berth against Portsmouth, the first time they have reached the final since they became the only non-English side to win the FA Cup in 1927.

Under FA rules they would not be able to play in Europe if they win as Welsh clubs can only qualify through their own competitions but an FA statement issued on Monday said that the issue remained open.

'At this stage we have not ruled out Cardiff City being entered into Europe via The FA Cup should they win it,' the FA said in a statement.

'However, further conversations need to take place but we would expect to have final clarification on this before the end of the month.'

The FA are likely to consider the issue at a board meeting on April 24 and a UEFA spokesman said that European soccer's governing body would wait to hear the result of that meeting before taking any action.

The spokesman confirmed that UEFA president Michel Platini had asked the executive committee to look at the possibility of giving Cardiff a wild card entry but said the next meeting will take place on May 19/20, two days after the final.

Cardiff regularly represented Wales in the defunct European Cup Winners' Cup via the Welsh Cup and coach Dave Jones said he wants a return.

'If we happen to win the FA Cup or Portsmouth get into Europe via sixth spot, the European place should go to the other club in the final,' he said after Sunday's Wembley win.

'Platini has come out and said if it does happen we deserve to be there. We should do.

'Politically, it is a minefield. If we win it then we should go into Europe. There are two or three million people in Cardiff and they will all be banging on the door. There will be all hell to pay if we don't get in and I will be first in the queue.'