The Football Association of Wales (FAW) is the latest in a string of countries to announce they would not play games against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.
Wales follows England, Sweden, Ukraine, Czech Republic and Poland in announcing a boycott of Russian matches as teams were meant to play as part of World Cup qualifiers.
In a written statement, backed by Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, the FAW said: “The Football Association of Wales (FAW) stands in solidarity with Ukraine and feels an extreme amount of sadness and shock to the recent developments in the country.
“The FAW expresses its condemnation for the use of force and the atrocities being committed by Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.
“The FAW has decided that Cymru will not play any international fixtures against Russia for the foreseeable future, at any level of the game.
“Our thoughts and support are with the people of Ukraine.
“Сильніші разом. Together, we are stronger. Gyda’n gilydd, yn gryfach.”
The English Football Association have said that the country will not play any international matches against Russia “for the foreseeable future” and that it “wholeheartedly condemns the atrocities being committed by the Russian leadership”.
FIFA has requested that the Russian football teams play upcoming games in neutral territory under the name the Football Union of Russia without their flag and anthem.
This approach has been deemed “totally unacceptable” by the Polish FA.
Polish football association president Cezary Kulesza said: “We are not interested in participating in this game of appearances. Our stance remains intact: Polish National Team will not play with Russia, no matter what the name of the team is.”
Swedish FA president Karl-Erik Nilsson said: “Our opinion is not different today and the situation has not changed in Ukraine just because we have received the message from Fifa, so we have no other opinion today.
“We also want to talk to Poland and the Czech Republic so that we can give back to Fifa what we think, but we had expected a sharper stance from Fifa. We would have done so.”
College footballers see success in National competition
NPTC Group of Colleges boys’ football team have finished in the top four in the UK.
The boys’ football team competed in the Association of Colleges football tournament at Nottingham competing against some of the best footballing further education colleges and sixth form teams in the UK.
The team qualified for the tournament by winning the regional competition in Wales which meant they represented Wales in the British competition.
Playing eight games over two days, the team won four, losing three and drawing one. The team beat the eventual tournament winners Yeovil College 3-1 earlier in the tournament and were very proud of their performances across the weekend’s games.
Sport lecturer Lindsay Piper said: “The tournament was intense with each game being won or lost by small margins. The competition was tough, and the boys did a fantastic job representing the college and Wales”.
Llandarcy Academy of Sport students Tyrone Cadeau and Roan Piper were a key part of the team’s success at the tournament. The two were also part of the history-making Welsh school’s U18 team who won the 2022 centenary shield.
The tournament was contested by England, Scotland, the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales, with Wales finishing top of the table for the first time in 41 years.
Both Tyrone and Roan played vital roles in the team’s success over the past two months with Wales recording three wins and one loss over their four games.
Wales secured the championship with a 2-0 win over the Republic of Ireland in Caernarfon at the end of April, with Roan scoring the second goal.
(Lead image: NPTC Group of Colleges)
Grassroots sports in Wales get £1.3m investment in UK Government Levelling Up announcement
Beneficiaries of an initial £1.3 million investment in grassroots football facilities across Wales this year are announced by the UK Government.
In the Swansea Bay Region, Mumbles, Pontarddulais and Fishguard football clubs see over £140,000 in investment.
Seventeen projects across Wales will receive funding to create and improve pitches, changing rooms and pavilions, so that more local communities can access high-quality facilities.
Projects have been chosen for their ability to deliver improved facilities in deprived areas, support multi-sport use and increase participation among currently under-represented groups, including women, girls and disabled players.
Mumbles Rangers AFC
Mumbles Rangers AFC who play at Underhill Park (pictured above) will receive £19,332 for essential grass pitch maintenance machinery. The club say this is so the pitch can effectively service the rugby and football teams across all age groups who use it.
The pitch has been upgraded over the last two years and supports two-day male and female football festivals with teams competing from across South Wales
The club will also invest £2,148 of its own funds towards the scheme.
Pontarddulais Town FC
Pontarddulais Town FC who play at Coed Bach Park will get £98,842 to renovate an old changing room block that is no longer fit for purpose, bringing it back into use. The club say the funding will provide female toilet facilities and allow other community groups to benefit from the increased capacity.
The club will also invest £8,000 of its own funds into the scheme, in addition to £2,000 from Funds for Wales, £1,000 from Mynydd y Gwair wind farm and £3,477 from a voluntary works labour contribution.,
Fishguard Sports AFC
Further West, Fishguard Sports AFC who play at Tregroes Park will receive £26,072 to improve the drainage of the second pitch and purchase portable floodlights, so that it can be used into the evenings. The club say the poor drainage has prevented the club from expanding its offer, especially for ladies football, cricket and the U16’s disabled team which this project will unlock.
The club will invest £1,897 of its own funds, as well as £1,000 voluntary works labour contribution towards the scheme.
Investment in community facilities
The funding, combined with contributions from clubs and other local partners, will improve the quality of community facilities, bring people together to enjoy playing sport in their local area, regenerate communities and enhance social cohesion.
It forms part of a £25 million UK-wide investment in grassroots facilities during this financial year, out of a total of £230 million set to be invested to help to build or upgrade up to 8,000 quality pitches across the UK over the next four years. The funding will also support the construction or refurbishment of clubhouses, changing facilities and community buildings.
The Football Association of Wales is delivering the programme on behalf of the UK Government in Wales. Following the UK Government’s commitment, the Welsh Government has also opted to invest £1.3 million to improve grassroots facilities this year – the FAW is working with both governments to maximise the benefits of this combined investment for local communities.
UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “We are committed to improving access to high quality sports facilities for the underprivileged and underrepresented in Wales.
“From female changing rooms at Treborth Playing Fields in Bangor to new pitches in Welshpool and Swansea, this will ensure more people can enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of sport at top class facilities in their local community.”
Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: “Grassroots football clubs are at the heart of their communities, providing sporting opportunities but also bringing incalculable health and social benefits to local children and adults.
“They play a hugely important role and I’m thrilled that the UK Government is making this investment in facilities the length and breadth of Wales which will help the clubs and groups receiving this funding to continue their fantastic work.”
Chief Executive Noel Mooney from the Football Association of Wales said: “The Football Association of Wales is pleased to be working closely with the UK and Welsh Governments to improve facilities across Wales and are grateful for their support.
Improving the facilities across Wales is the FAW’s number one strategic objective. This initial round of funding marks the beginning of an exciting journey, and the FAW will continue to work closely with all of its stakeholders, to create a facilities investment fund in order to deliver impactful projects across all corners of Wales as we strive to make football inclusive and accessible to all.”
Joint UK bid for Euro 2028
Today’s announcement follows a joint ‘Expression of Interest’ submitted to UEFA by the Football Associations of England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales on Wednesday (23 March).
The Governments of the UK, Ireland, Scotland and Wales have confirmed their support for the EOI submission and, given the Northern Ireland Executive is currently not meeting formally, officials there continue to observe the process closely.
Formal discussions on the technical specifications for the tournament are expected to take place with European football’s governing body over the coming weeks, before a final decision is made on submitting a formal bid.
On the prospects of hosting UEFA EURO 2028, Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston added: “This is welcome news from the FAs, and the Government remains committed to working closely with them and our partners in the Government of Ireland and the Devolved Administrations to bring UEFA’s flagship festival of international football to the UK and Ireland.
“Our unprecedented partnership creates the potential for the best EUROs ever, and we are passionate about bringing another world-leading sporting event here, creating a real celebration of football for people across the UK and Ireland.
“The government continues to demonstrate its commitment to sport and recreation, recently announcing that it is also investing £30 million to refurbish more than 4,500 tennis courts across the UK.”
(Lead image: Go Underhill)
Former Swansea City and Wales icon John Toshack in hospital with COVID-19
Former Swansea City and Wales International football manager John Toshack is in hospital after contracting COVID-19.
Toshak (72) is said to be in a serious condition after contracting pneumonia brought on by COVID-19 and is on a ventilator.
The former Real Madrid manager is being treated at a hospital in Spain where he now lives.
A number of the football legend’s former clubs have sent messages of support on twitter.
(Lead image: Wikimedia Commons / DONOSTIA KULTURA)
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