UCD will feature in this summer’s Europa League qualifying phase, subject to licensing, after Ireland, England and the Netherlands were awarded an extra place for topping the Fair Play rankings.
Following on from initial reports in January that Ireland were top of the Fair Play rankings, we have since moved down to third but it sill means the Students will now have a taste of European football this season.
Dundalk and Cork City topped the Respect Fair Play table, but as both the Lilywhites and the Leesiders are already competing in Europe, the third-placed side, UCD, are now Ireland’s fifth representative on the continent this summer, along with St. Pat’s and Shamrock Rovers.
Ireland have today been awarded an additional UEFA Europa League spot for the Fair Play Award! UCD will get this spot subject to licensing!!
— UCD AFC (@UCDAFC) May 8, 2015
This is likely to be the last time this sort of scenario will come about for a League of Ireland side however, with changes to UEFA Fair Play regulations meaning that from 2015/16 onwards the highest ranking associations ‘will be awarded prize money’ instead of places in the Europa League.
These monies must then be donated to amateur or professional clubs of the governing association’s choice, ‘for fair play or respect-themed projects,’ according to UEFA’s official website.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena