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Fair Play award gives UCD hope of Europa League spot next season

The Students must wait until next May to discover their European fate.

UCD's Paul Corry and John Russell of St. Pats.
UCD's Paul Corry and John Russell of St. Pats.
Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

AIRTRICITY SIDE UCD AFC may be playing Europa League football next season after winning the league’s Fair Play Award.

As well as scooping €4,000 for their hard-fought but clean tackling style of play, The Students could be drawn against some of Europe’s top sides next summer.

UCD  finished ahead of league champions Sligo Rovers with Cork City who were in third place. The competition contained only Premier Division teams.

The competition is based on points system with points awarded or deducted by the match delegate at each Premier Division match for red and yellow cards, positive play and the behaviour/attitude of players and team officials.

UCD must now wait for the result of UEFA’s Respect Fair Play ranking which is based on all UEFA competition matches played at both club and national team level, from the start of May this year until the end of April 2013.

The top three countries in the table on 1 May, 2013, will each be granted one additional slot for the first qualifying round of the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League. This will go to the club that has won the domestic top-division Fair Play competition which in Ireland’s case is UCD.

Criteria such as positive play, respect of the opponent, respect of the referee, behaviour of the crowd and of the team officials, as well as cautions and dismissals are added up to give country’s their rankings.

Ireland finished only 14th last season so a marked improvement will be needed for The Students to take part in the Europa League. UCD manager Martin Russell said:

We are delighted with the fair play award. It’s important for the club and shows that we play in a fair and proper way and behave ourselves according on the pitch while still being competitive.

“We hope that Ireland is in the top three when UEFA announce the winners and if we get the opportunity to play in Europe it will be a great reward for the players, staff and everyone else at the club.”

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Patrick McCarry

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