Wales

FAW: Pledge to improve Welsh Premier League

Training at Port Talbot Town
Image caption The report said the FAW should "explore opportunities" for financing new football pitches

The Football Association of Wales has pledged to improve the game by working closer with clubs and communities.

It follows a warning that the Welsh Premier League "will struggle to move forward" without action.

That came from the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee which launched an investigation into the league's future earlier this year.

It said investing in hard-wearing pitches would benefit clubs, local people and Welsh football.

Its report recommends that it should work with the Welsh government to make clubs community "hubs".

It also says that it should "explore opportunities" for financing new types of football pitches, also known as third [3G] and fourth generation [4G] pitches.

It says such pitches are low-maintenance, hard-wearing and versatile and could be used for other sports and activities across the community, while at the same time give clubs a much-needed financial boost.

It also recommends that the FAW priorities "communication and relationship-building" with the clubs to deliver their strategies.

The FAW said it welcomed the report, adding that it had already been working on some of the recommendations, including the new pitches, community hubs and improving its relationship with the Welsh Government and clubs.

Jonathan Ford, FAW chief executive, said it hoped that developing its relationship with the Welsh government would lead to "tangible benefits" for its clubs and the communities they represent.

"It is important that we build on the findings of the report and ensure that football can contribute to tackle a number of local and national issues," he said.

"Through the established partnerships and joint financial commitment we seek a strong, vibrant Welsh Premier League in terms of the quality of player, facilities, support and community involvement."

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