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County out of Welsh Cup

NEWPORT County have not been invited to participate in the 2012-13 Welsh Cup as they would not be able to qualify for Europe via the competition.

County, fellow Blue Square Bet Premier club Wrexham and Western League champions Merthyr Town all returned to the cup last season after a 17-year absence after being invited back by the Football Association of Wales.

But Uefa ruled in March that clubs in the English pyramid could not represent Wales in Europe .

The winners of the Welsh Cup qualify for the Europa Cup and Uefa, European football’s governing body, have said the only way County, Wrexham, Merthyr, Swansea City, Cardiff City and Colwyn Bay can qualify for Europe is by representing the English league.

Uefa’s executive committee rejected the Football Association of Wales’ request to give their six exiled clubs a promise of European football through the Welsh Cup.

This means the Swans can play in Europe if they finish in the Premier League’s Europa League places or if they or Cardiff win the FA or League Cup.

Wales’ exiled clubs had been barred from entering the competition since 1995 when Uefa initially insisted only clubs from the Welsh league system were eligible to represent Wales in Europe.

The news is unlikely to come as much of a blow to County or Wrexham, who both ran into problems with fixture congestion due to the Welsh Cup last season.

Wrexham were beaten 2-1 after extra-time by Airbus in their first match on December 3 having been forced to play the fixture on the same day as their FA Cup tie at Brentford.

And the same fate befell Justin Edinburgh’s side after they sneaked past Barry Town 3-2 in round three.

An under strength Exiles side went out of the Welsh Cup in round four on January 28, losing 4-0 at the New Saints while the first team were busy earning three points in the league by winning 3-2 at Gateshead on the same afternoon.

Edinburgh said after that defeat: “It’s disappointing really. We haven’t been able to put out a competitive side and it’s a shame because it’s a prestigious competition and we didn’t have an equal opportunity.”

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