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Football: Gap Connah’s Quay prepare to take FAW to court after Welsh Premier League rejection

GAP Connah’s Quay could take the Football Association of Wales to court to challenge the decision not to grant the club a Domestic Licence to play in the Welsh Premier League.

Nomads received the Huws Gray Alliance title trophy on Tuesday night before their final match of the season against Rhydymwyn – but the presentation was overshadowed by the knowledge they would not win promotion back to the top flight as their appeal against their licence rejection was turned down by an independent panel.

Having been led to believe their case was strong following consultation with the FAW, Nomads chairman John Gray was incensed.

“We have asked a lawyer to look into it for us,” he said. “We are appalled at the actions of the FAW. We’ve always said the decisions these people make affect the club, the people who are part of the club, the young players in the academy whose funding is now under threat, but sometimes your face just doesn’t fit.”

On the pitch, Nomads won the Huws Gray Alliance title at the first attempt following their demotion in 2010, finishing nine points clear of runners-up Rhyl and reaching the semi-final of the Welsh Cup, losing to Welsh Premier champions Bangor City.

Off the pitch Nomads initially failed with their licence bid as the floodlights at Deeside Stadium were not up to the required standard.

After receiving funding from the FAW just weeks before the application deadline of March 31, work began to upgrade the lights.

The club took advice from the FAW that their initial bid would not be successful but an appeal would have a strong chance as the upgrade would be completed in the intervening time.

Player-boss Mark McGregor was left bewildered with the decision: “The FAW and the Welsh Premier League have questions to answer. What is the point in a pyramid system if no clubs are promoted or relegated?

“This is not sour grapes as we have won the Huws Gray Alliance league fair and square and have met all the criteria to achieve a Domestic Licence.

“We have one of the best academies in Wales, which will now be struggling for funding next season because of this travesty.”

FAW Domestic Licensing officer Andrew Howard said he could not speak about the specifics of the Nomads case due to confidentiality rules, but defended the appeals panel.

“It is independent of the FAW and the clubs,” he said. “It has lawyers, former policemen, even a judge on it and they look at the evidence before them and make a decision.

“Clubs know at the beginning of the season what the deadlines are and they have to get their infrastructure in place before that date.”

The decision could be challenged based on article 51 of the Uefa statutes which, while including provision for domestic licensing, states that the primary driver in promotion and relegation must be sporting achievement.

And while it may not result in Nomads going up this season, Mr Gray wants to change the FAW’s policy.

“It’s ridiculous,” he said. “At the start of the season every team should know if they are playing for promotion or relegation.

“It should not be decided in a boardroom after the event, but on the pitch by the players.

“I don’t know another system in Europe that operates in this fashion and I believe it must change. Whether we go up or not, we intend to fight this because the future of Welsh football depends on it.”

Five-star finish for the champions – see page 79.