Euro 2016: Welsh FA spent £6.4m Euro 2016 money early to help squad

Jonathan Ford and Chris Coleman
FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford with Wales manager Chris Coleman, who was appointed in January 2012

The Football Association of Wales spent the £6.4m Euro 2016 participation fee before the tournament began - to help the squad prepare for France.

Wales play Portugal in Lyon on Wednesday in their first ever semi-final at a major tournament.

"I got the board to spend our participation money to give the boys the very best opportunity for success," FAW chief Jonathan Ford told BBC Sport.

"And they've paid us back in their droves."

Wales topped Group B after wins over Slovakia and Russia, either side of a narrow defeat by England, knocked out Northern Ireland in the last 16 and Belgium in the quarter-finals.

Chris Coleman's team face Portugal on Wednesday with the winners meeting either France or Germany in the final in Paris on Sunday, 10 July.

It is the biggest match in Welsh football history and the most significant in British international football since hosts England reached the Euro 1996 semi-finals.

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Ford, who has been in charge of the FAW for the past six years, said this approach gave Coleman and his players the best chance of success throughout the qualifiers and into the finals.

"It is about marginal gains," Ford said.

"Every time, during the qualification cycle, we came around, we said what do we need to do more? What can we do better? And it was those one percents.

"When we planned this event we wanted to make sure we gave the team the very best opportunities.

"We found the best hotel, we wanted to invest in the facilities that were there, we put in the best gym we could, we got the best aircraft that we could.

"Not spending money unnecessarily so, but spending money to ensure that the players can do their job to the best of their ability.

"That's exactly what they've done and we're in the semi-final. We invested more into those facilities, the whole purpose of which was to give the boys on the field the very best chance - no excuses.

"They've had no excuses and they needed no excuses."

Including the participation fee, the FAW could receive at least £14.5m for reaching the last four.

Going on to lift the trophy would add a further £6m-plus to prize money.

The FAW made a profit of £20,000 in its last financial year.

Ford said all the "bits of the jigsaw" have fallen into place in this campaign, but added the FAW would not "stop here".

"We will work harder than we have before," said Ford. "We'll literally throw out the rule book. You can't just sit here and think 'we had success last time, let's just do the same thing'.

"We will look at everything - what can we do better? What can help us to achieve qualification for World Cup 2018?

How much could Wales make in the tournament?

Participation in tournament - 8m euro (£6.4m)

Each win in the pool stages - 1m euro (£812,000)

Reach last 16 - 1.5m euro (£1.2m)

Reach quarter finals - 2.5m euro (£2m)

Reach semi finals 4m euro (£3.2m)

Champions 8m euro (£6.4m)

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