Welsh football pyramid system to be overhauled

Reporter:

Daniel Heald

Football in Wales could face another overhaul as part of a new 2020 vision.

Clubs and football officials across the country have been sent out details by the Football Association of Wales, who want to restructure the domestic pyramid.

The Welsh Football League – based in South Wales – and the north’s highly-competitive Cymru Alliance would be the most affected by the planned changes.

Two second tier leagues named the ‘FAW Championship North & Mid’ and the ‘FAW Championship South & Mid’ have been proposed.

The FAW’s National Game Board established a working group in 2015 to review the Welsh Football Domestic Pyramid structure and the working group set out their aims below:

Identify the strengths and limitations of the current structure at Tiers 2 to 4.

Identify a new framework for competitive men’s football, appropriate to playing standards, ground facilities and economic means.

Develop a consistent approach at all levels of the Pyramid, with consideration for the strength, sustainability and geography of clubs and competitions.

Develop ground criteria for each stage of the Pyramid. 

Ensure the structure and criteria permits the seasonal movements of Clubs between the Leagues in an orderly manner.

Consider a range of other factors, including financial, legal, commercial, sporting and governance.

The statement sent out to the clubs read: “While the domestic game has played a key role in providing opportunities and competition across Wales over the years, the FAW Council concluded that restructuring the Pyramid would help address some of the challenges experienced at a local, regional and national level.

“The imbalance between the number of Clubs and Leagues in certain regions, the inconsistencies associated with promotion and relegation along with the long distances travelled have long been identified as issues affecting the game in Wales. 

“The restructure will see 108 Clubs involved in seven Leagues from tiers 1 to 3. Tier 1 will involve a 12-team format with Clubs aspiring to play European football.

“Tier 2 will involve two 16-team Leagues in two different regions with Clubs that have attained the Tier 2 Ground Regulations and aspiring to play at Tier 1 of the Pyramid.

“Both Leagues will see the Champions promoted (or runners-up if Tier 1 licence not achieved), with two Tier 1 Clubs relegated.

“ The geographical distribution of the Leagues in Tier 2 will be decided after the 32 Clubs are confirmed.

“This alleviates a scenario experienced in recent years, where one Tier 2 League has relegated four clubs, but the other Tier 2 League has only needed to relegate two clubs.

“Tier 3 will see four Leagues in four different regions compete to be involved with the two divisions at Tier 2 of the Pyramid.

“This tier will see the Champions from each League promoted (4 promoted) and a play-off between the four runners-up from each region (2 promoted). The geographical distribution will be decided after the 64 Clubs are confirmed.

“Tiers 1 and 2 will be administered by the FAW. The Welsh Football League, as an established League in the South, would administer the relevant regions as a result of the restructure.

“A new organizing body will be established by the FAW to administer the relevant regions operating in North and Mid Wales at Tier 3 of the Pyramid.

“The new Welsh Football Domestic Pyramid structure will be implemented through a phased approach, with Tier 2 implemented in time for the 2019/20 season and Tier 3 in time for the 2020/21 season.

“The National Game Board will continue with its comprehensive work programme as it prepares to move forward with the restructure.”

Email:

daniel.heald@nwn.co.uk

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