Waterford FC will not be allowed to participate in UEFA club competitions for the 19/20 season it has been revealed by the FAI this evening. UEFA passed the ruling onto the FAI, after Waterford made an unsuccessful exemption request to European football's governing body.
St Patrick's Athletic had contacted the FAI to question Waterford's participation in the Europa League qualifiers this summer, believing the Munster side were ineligible for the competition under UEFA laws.
The question related to a UEFA rule which states that a club must be in existence for three consecutive years before being allowed to enter UEFA competitions. Waterford were taken under new ownership in 2017 and rebranded as 'Waterford FC' having previously been known as 'Waterford United'.
St Pat's felt this made them ineligible for the Europa League, a claim which has now been validated. Waterford applied to UEFA for an exemption, but the FAI confirmed in a statement this evening that this has been rejected:
The Football Association of Ireland can confirm that it has has received notification from UEFA's Licensing Department that Waterford FC's exemption request has been rejected on the non-fulfilment of the three-year rule as defined in UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations.
UEFA has informed the FAI that, following the Club Financial Control Body-Investagory Chamber decision in this case, Waterford FC may not for a UEFA licence for UEFA Club Competitions for the season 2019/20.
Waterford's place in the competition is now set to be taken by St Pat's, who finished one place below them in the SSE Airtricity Premier Division last season.
There had been rumours earlier today that Waterford owner Lee Power was set to withdraw funding from the club were they banned from the Europa League this summer.
This is not the first time this rule has affected a League of Ireland club, with Derry City expelled from the Europa League under similar circumstances in 2012.