23 July ~ Real Mallorca have become the latest and biggest club to date to see their European hopes dashed thanks to finances. A UEFA ruling on Thursday rejected their application for a licence, citing their failure to fulfil the financial criteria required. Despite achieving their best finish in nine years last season, the La Liga side went into voluntary administration in May in a bid to relieve their mounting debt, believed to be in the region of £70 million.

Mallorca are not the first and certainly won't be the last club that have experienced money problems in the competition. Irish clubs Derry and Cork City will also be absent this year despite qualifying after their clubs were demoted for financial reasons.

In stark contrast to its more glamorous rival, the Champions League, the Europa League offers far less financial incentive to clubs. The winners of the competition receive around £7m in prize money and television cash, spare change compared to the estimated £50m awarded to Champions League winners.

Many teams have ranked the Europa League low in their priorities, preferring to concentrate on domestic issues and the ever elusive "Champions League spot". However for some teams, a chance to travel around some of the more exotic locations of Europe and experience new challenges is a opportunity that rarely presents itself. But as UEFA tighten up on their regulations expect to see more clubs excluded from European competition in the future. Peter Lam

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