In Wales the compasses point south

10 04 2011

During the half-time period of yesterday’s semi-final I read the programme. Two thoughts struck me.

Firstly, I was glad that the FAW has enough confidence in the work experience kids to let them near the company PC, let’s hope they didn’t delete the accounts!!!

Secondly, why does the FAW hate north Wales so?  There was an advert for a Women’s international against Luxembourg. The game will have free admission and be played in Afan Lido, a place near Port Talbot in south Wales. Incidentally, it was the most professional part of the programme, but the FAW farms out their power to publicise.

The second thought came to mind because funnily enough, there were also adverts in the Wales v England programme for internationals in south Wales where admission will be free. (U19 Women’s qualifiers against Germany, Iceland and Turkey in Llanelli and Carmarthen AND an U18 game in Port Talbot). There was an advert for internationals with free admission in last October’s Wales v Bulgaria programme as well. (Men’s U19 qualifiers against Turkey, Iceland and Kazakhstan in Llanelli, Carmarthen and Bridgend).

At this point of this post I’ll throw in the fact that Bangor were playing for a place in the final of the Welsh Cup, a game that’s due to take place in a rugby stadium in south Wales, on a Sunday.

When you know all that you kind of get the feeling that the FAW’s main motivation is to provide entertainment for south Walians. Mind you I’m not the only one to come to this conclusion, my good friends over at Ffwtbol highlight the problem very well.

Last night I got to thinking that maybe I was wrong. Sometimes the perception of a problem is not supported by evidence so I decided to do a bit of research. I decided to look at the history of Welsh representative matches using the FAW’s own website and here’s what I found;

In the last eleven years Wales have played about 145 representative matches at home.

The above statement needs qualification. When I say “representative matches” I mean matches played by Wales. These matches include Mens matches at Full, U21, U19, U17, Semi-professional and Semi-pro U23 levels and Women’s matches at Full, U21, U19 and U17 levels.

In fact thinking about what I wrote just up there, I should have written that in the last eleven years Wales have played “at least” 145 representative matches at home. I can only say “at least” because the FAW’s records don’t seem complete; for the 145-ish matches in the records only 138 have their venue noted.  But enough about the problems of research.

Of those 138, 28 were played in north Wales (about 20%).  It gets worse when you look at the situation since August 2008, out of 46 matches at all levels, they’ve deigned to hold 7 in north Wales (15% of the total). For Men’s full internationals in the last 11 years, north Wales has hosted a grand total of 4 matches out of 48 (8% of the total).

Mind you this is understandable, why would you want to hold friendlies in Wrexham when you can hold them in A RUGBY GROUND IN LLANELLI THAT’S VERY INCONVENIENT TO GET TO? Why the FAW decided to play matches in the Brewery Field (a rugby ground), Bryntirion Athletic FC, Garden Village AFC and Plough Road, Goytre is less clear.

What do these grounds possess that Llandudno, Rhyl or Flint don’t? Those grounds have gone through the tough licensing procedures demanded by the FAW for the privilege of hosting international matches. Why aren’t we allowed our turn?

It seems that our perception is correct, the FAW don’t seem to like north Wales.

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