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Hammam in U-turn over FAW Premier Cup
IN a massive and significant U-turn for Welsh domestic football, Cardiff City have announced that they will compete in next season's FAW Premier Cup.
The future BBC-sponsorship of the cup had been jeopardised by Bluebirds' chief Sam Hammam, who said only yesterday: "This club will not be playing in a cup competition that does not have European football at the end of it."
Earlier this year he labelled the FAW Premier Cup a "Minnie Mouse" competition.
Fellow Welsh Nationwide League clubs Swansea and Wrexham - along with non-league Newport County - had criticised Hammam's stance, with all three calling for Cardiff to commit to the cup "for the good of Welsh football".
"I had a meeting with David Collins and we agreed that Cardiff will be participating in the FAW Premier Cup," Hammam said.
"But I must stress we're not playing our first team, we're not even playing our reserve team.
"Our best 18 players on that week will be earmarked for the League."
The Bluebirds' chairman also revealed there could be a way to allow the six Welsh clubs playing in the English system to represent Wales in European competition.
Hammam hinted that the FAW may have found a compromise that will be acceptable to Uefa.
"The FAW and us are 80 to 90% certain that we will be allowed to represent Wales in Europe - not just in the Uefa Cup but also in the Champions' League," Hammam said.
"I think we need one or two manoeuvres to do that and I think this time next year all of us will be participating in competitions in Wales that will allow us to go - potentially, if we succeed - into the Champions' League and the Uefa Cup."
However, Hammam's change of heart is more likely to have been influenced by the FAW's threat to pull the plug on talks to base a new training facility for Mark Hughes' Wales at City's new state-of-the-art home, rumoured to be worth 1.5 million to the Nationwide outfit.
• Next season's Premier Cup group stage will involve TNS, Haverfordwest, Aberystwyth, Caersws, Bangor, Cwmbran and Connah's Quay from the Welsh Premier, with Newport County from Conference South.
Welsh Cup winners Rhyl will go straight into the quarter-finals, along with Cardiff, Swansea and Wrexham.
16 June 2021
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