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CARDIFF City will be competing in the FAW Premier Cup next season but only with a 'Representative XI', not a full strength side.
Bluebirds owner Sam Hammam yesterday agreed to enter a team for 2003/4, but the Football Association of Wales have fully accepted it will officially be a Representative XI and not a first team.
City had earlier told the FAW that they would not be entering next seasonís competition before they met Hammam at the Holiday Inn, Cardiff yesterday.
Hammam shook hands on the Bluebirds playing in the FAW Cup for one more season - and clearly wants major progress on being given the go-ahead to enter a team in the Welsh Premier League. That would open the route to European competition for Cardiff City.
"We are totally focussed on what we are doing - and the Nationwide Football League and eventually the Premiership is where it's at, for Wales and for Cardiff City," said Hammam.
"It is in the interest of Welsh football that Cardiff City perform in the League to the best of their ability - and the danger of players being injured in cup games is clear.
"When we are playing in the FAW Cup other teams are trying their best and we don't want key players getting injured.
"We must not pretend we are putting out our best team. At Newport last season we had 200 to 300 fans. That shows that everybody knows we are not putting our best team out.
"We would love to do everything asked of us, but the FAW accept that it's in the interests of Welsh football that a strong League performance is better for Wales. An injury to one of our key players may have a far more damaging effect than that of weakening the competition to some extent."
The agreement reached by Hammam, the FAW and Cardiff City - who had not previously committed themselves to next seasons competition - means manager Lennie Lawrence will not select key players like goalkeeper Neil Alexander, Graham Kavanagh, Danny Gabbidon, Peter Thorne and Robert Earnshaw unless they are returning from injury and need a game.
When it comes to FAW Premier Cup matches, Lawrence will, in the main, ignore his top 18 to 20 players and then select his team.
"That's what they have done in the past, but it is now an official policy agreed with the FAW," says the Cardiff City club website.
Last season the Bluebirds played a below full strength team including trainees and went out on penalties after a goalless draw with Cardiff-born loan player Lee Fowler suffering an injury which effectively ended his chances of signing for the club.
1 July 2021