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Europa League round of 16 draw

Europa League
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By ESPN Staff

Birmingham fit to play in Europe

Birmingham are confident they will meet the financial criteria which will enable them to compete in Europe next season after their Carling Cup triumph.

• Yeung seeks investment

There were weekend reports City may not be able to compete in the Europa League unless they can assure the Premier League, UEFA and the Football Association their financial future is secure.

But Blues acting chairman Peter Pannu has allayed those fears which emerged after a statement by Birmingham International Holdings - the club's parent company - to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

That revealed Blues and other Hong Kong-based business had total debts in excess of £29million. It also emerged last week that owner Carson Yeung has put some of his own properties up as collateral for a multi-million pound loan.

This would be used to "provide sufficient financial resources'' to allow the business to continue "without significant curtailment of its operation''.

But Pannu told City's official website: "It is important to note that Birmingham City (the football club) is a separate corporate entity from BIHL (a listed company in Hong Kong). Although a distant subsidiary, Birmingham City FC's accounts are separate and it operates on its own financial basis.

"Birmingham City FC is in credit with their bankers and there is no financial impediment to its operations. We will have no problem securing UEFA licence approval (to play in Europe) for which the club had already filed the papers.

"As for Birmingham International Holdings Limited, the financial support by a major shareholder is a common occurrence and there is no cause for concern or any direct links to Birmingham City FC's well being.''

The Blues had already insisted that the running of the club is not an issue for concern.

A Birmingham spokesman on Monday told Press Association Sport: "To reiterate, there are no problems with the day-to-day running of the business. The board are looking to raise capital to invest into the business.''

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