A VILLAGE football club that romped to their league title have refused promotion claiming the cost of upgrading their facilities is “frankly absurd”.
Welsh Alliance Division One champions Glantraeth FC have rejected the chance to play in the Huws Gray Alliance next season and their controversial decision comes as a result of a dispute over the terms in place for teams making the step up.
If promoted, Glantraeth would have to erect a 250 seat grandstand on their ground within the next two seasons and carry out other costly improvements.
Glantraeth secretary Stan Strickland, feels that small village clubs like his are being unfairly restricted in their quest for promotion.
“We might be accused of lacking ambition but this is a dilemma that many clubs in the Welsh Alliance are going to have to face in future if they finish in a promotion position.” he said.
“Our ground is on private land so we simply can’t be adding a massive stand on top of it. We already have a 63 seater stand which rarely sees more than 20 people in it, so erecting a 250 seat stand is quite frankly absurd. There would be a seat for every person in the village.
“Even if you watch Welsh Premier League football, some of those teams have stands with 700 to 1,000 seat capacities on them, but they’re rarely full.
“People at other clubs are also worried about these rules put in place for clubs of our size who have won promotion, as they’re highly restrictive and most teams cannot afford to build stands as big as the Huws Gray want.”
The club, which elected Hollywood star Naomi Watts as its president in 2016, now expect to lose players due to the decision they’ve been forced to make.
Mr Strickland added: “We appreciate there will be disappointment after all we have achieved this season. Some of our players will be happy to continue in the Welsh Alliance while others are ambitious to play at a higher level. We respect that and accept that some might leave but I believe the decision we have made is the right one for the club.”
Following a club meeting last week, a Glantraeth statement read: “In the past we have always accepted promotion from the Welsh Alliance and it was then a comparatively easy decision to make. It is now a whole new ball game with the huge changes to the criteria for membership of the Huws Gray Alliance that have been introduced.
“A 250-seater stand as required within two years is simply not possible on our privately owned ground, so accepting promotion would mean making a big commitment but with no long term future in the higher league as we would be relegated back to the Welsh Alliance no matter what our league position due to not meeting the ground criteria as specified by the FAW.”
The North Wales Chronicle attempted to contact the Huws Gray Alliance, however, nobody was available for comment.