European wins 'big boost' for Welsh Premier League - secretary

New Saints players celebrate winning the 2016 Welsh Cup
The New Saints won Welsh football's domestic treble last season

Welsh Premier secretary Gwyn Derfel says victories for The New Saints and Newtown in Europe show that league standards are improving.

Treble winners New Saints beat B36 Torshavn 2-1 in their Champions League first qualifying round first leg.

Newtown beat Maltese side Valletta 2-1 in the Europa League.

"It shows we're becoming competitive on the European stage, which is obviously very important for our national league," Derfel said.

"They've won coefficient points for Wales by winning the first legs which hopefully will make things easier when it comes to seedings in future years for Welsh clubs."

Saints' success in the Faroe Islands was their first away victory in the Champions League while Newtown's win was their first in Europe.

Their victories came 12 months after Wales' four representatives failed to win a game in last season's European competitions.

"I'm really confident that the standards are improving and I'd like people to give our league a chance domestically next season," Derfel added.

"Good football is being played and it's nice that's being shown on a European stage."

Airbus UK Broughton and Bala Town both lost 3-1 in their Europa League first qualifying round first leg matches.

Derfel said their hopes of progressing to next round are not over but they faced difficult tasks in the second legs.

Welsh Premier League runners-up Bala were beaten 3-1 by Differdange in Luxembourg while Airbus lost by the same scoreline to Lokomotiva Zagreb in Bangor.

"I saw Airbus and the result was very, very cruel on them," Derfel said.

"They played excellently in the first half but conceded three goals in a period of 25 minutes.

"I know from Bala's game it was three sloppy mistakes which led to Differdange's three goals.

"It shows if they can cut out the mistakes that they too can be competitive on the European stage."

Top Stories