STATEMENT: CLARITY ON WELSH GOVERNMENT GUIDELINES AND FOOTBALL IN WALES
Due to the confirmation of the Welsh Government’s Coronavirus Regulations following the recent Firebreak lockdown, the Football Association of Wales would like to confirm the key information that is applicable to domestic football.
The most recent Welsh Government guidelines, effective from 9 November, details the following: Outdoor gatherings are continued to be limited to 30 persons only.
As a result of the 30-person limit, the FAW’s Return to Play Protocols must continue to be followed. These protocols are currently being updated to reflect the update to the guideline Q&As on 12 November. Coaches and match officials must be included in the 30-person limit. However, anybody who is there to organise or support the activity, if they are working or providing a voluntary service, can also attend and do not need to be considered within the limit of 30. The FAW will provide clarification in due course on which positions fall into this provision within the guidelines.
The FAW, along with other governing bodies of sport, have lobbied and submitted paperwork & plans to the Welsh Government requesting that this limit be lifted for organised sport, in order to allow more people to play football safely under the FAW’s COVID-19 protocols.
In its update to the guideline Q&As on 12 November, the Welsh Government has confirmed that there is no limit on the number of children under the age of 18 who can participate in or facilitate an organised sport activity for the development and well-being of children.
There is no restrictions on travel within Wales following the removal of local lockdowns.
The FAW continues to recommend that friendly matches played under the Return to Play Protocols are done so against teams within the same league or local authority boundaries. All friendlies must be sanctioned by the relevant body.
Elite status is reinstated for the Cymru Premier and Welsh Premier Women’s League.
A Full fixture programme returns this coming weekend for both of the Tier 1 leagues. Fixtures can be viewed on CymruFootball.Wales.
The FAW has proposed additional competitions to be included in an extended elite category.
These competitions, however, must sit between the existing elite cohort (i.e. Cymru Premier & Welsh Premier Women’s League) and a community sport level (i.e. Tier 4 Men’s, Tier 2 Women’s and below).
Therefore, this means that the FAW can only apply on behalf of the National Leagues, i.e Cymru North, Cymru South, Ardal Northern and Ardal Southern leagues. Sport Wales will make the decision on whether the elite category will be extended to these leagues. Club’s participating in leagues deemed ‘Recreational’ by the FAW Rules, Tier 4 Men’s and Tier 2 Women’s and below are currently unable to apply for this status.
The FAW is fully aware of the frustration felt throughout the Welsh Football Family but it is important to recognise that the Association is not responsible for the national COVID-19 policies and guidelines.
Along with other governing bodies of sport, the FAW must find a way to bring football back as safely as possible within the policies and guidelines set by Welsh Government, which are of course put in place to keep the nation as safe as possible during this unprecedented pandemic in modern times.
The FAW has held a series of webinars with Area Associations, Leagues and Clubs this week to fully explain what the Welsh Government guidelines mean for Welsh football.
Finally, the FAW and its staff continue to work hard for Welsh football and we all want the safe return of the game here in Wales. However, it is important to remind the Welsh Football Family that the impact of COVID-19 is also felt by the Association, which is set to make a significant financial loss as a result of the pandemic and continues to have many of its workforce on the UK Government furlough scheme, in order to prevent redundancies that would have a further detrimental affect on the game throughout the country.