St Patrick's Athletic's to take Waterford's place in the Europa League after UEFA licence granted

Thu, Apr 25 2019

Rhys McCabe and Lee Desmond celebrate Conor Clifford's opening goal in the Saints' 2-0 win over Finn Harps on Monday. Credit: Clare McCahill (ETPhotos)

St Patrick’s Athletic have been given the green light to enter the Europa League qualifiers this summer after the club was granted a UEFA licence by the Independent Licensing Committee.

The Saints join Cork City and Shamrock Rovers in entering Europe’s second competition, while champions Dundalk have been granted a licence to compete in the Champions League.

A short statement issued by the FAI read: "The Independent Club Licensing Committee of the Football Association of Ireland met on April 24 and awarded UEFA Licences to four SSE Airtricity League clubs for the 2019-20 UEFA Club competition season.

"Dundalk FC, Cork City FC, Shamrock Rovers FC and St Patrick’s Athletic FC have all been awarded Licences."

It had been widely presumed that Pats would take up the position vacated by Waterford, who had earned the final European spot by finishing fourth last season, but this is the first confirmation.

The Blues had expected, with the FAI’s backing, to be granted an exception to UEFA licensing criteria, which require a club to be members of their national association ‘for at least three consecutive years”.

The FAI confirmed last Thursday that UEFA would not grant the exception, as they had when Derry City were denied entry to the Europa League in 2012.

Waterford hoped to be granted entry under the same exceptional circumstances as Sporting Fingal, who had only been in existence for two years when they entered in 2010.

Harry Kenny’s Athletic will now take up the final Europa League spot when the draw for the first qualifying round is made in Nyon, Switzerland on June 11th.