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SIX exiled clubs could be recalled to the Welsh Cup as early as next season.
In a move that will send shockwaves through the Welsh Premier, it is understood that the FAW's International Committee has voted to allow Cardiff, Swansea, Wrexham, Merthyr, Newport and Colwyn Bay back into the competition.
The decision will require ratification by the full FAW council, but previous experience points to this being a formality.
Cardiff City's Sam Hammam has spearheaded the bid for a recall to the domestic cup, with the aim of engineering a return to Europe for the Bluebirds.
But with Uefa having twice rejected moves for European access by the six clubs playing in England, the FAW's decision could lead instead to Welsh clubs losing one of their two Uefa Cup places.
It is contrary to Uefa policy for a club to compete in two separate national cups and should one of the exiles lift the trophy, the European ruling body would almost certainly veto their nomination as a Welsh representative.
It is more likely that the move is driven by the demands of Sky to 'sex up' the Welsh Cup by including the big three Nationwide clubs, with a view to continued TV coverage.
Prize money for the Cup winners is set to be increased substantially as well.
The satellite broadcaster won the rights to Welsh international and domestic football from the BBC last month and was reportedly horrified by the general state of the domestic game from a TV perspective.
Now the 18 Premier clubs seem certain to sacrifice a European place to satisfy the requirements of a 10 million TV deal, from which they are likely to receive very little in terms of hard cash.
In a week when the FAW has 'blown' a reported 250,000 on a fruitless bid to reinstate the national side in Euro 2004, the clubs may also lose the financial rewards from the FAW Premier Cup, which has an uncertain future.
16 May 2021
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