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Developing football in Wales

The FAW has been an outstanding catalyst for football development in Wales, and qualification for two successive EURO final tournaments clearly shows that on-field progress is continuing.

Having never made it before, Wales' men's team have qualified for the last two EURO finals
Having never made it before, Wales' men's team have qualified for the last two EURO finals ©AFP/Getty Images

Overview

Source: UEFA Grassroots survey (2019)

While the FAW’s long-term vision spans the next 10 to 30 years, the strategic objectives and enablers defined by the association will support and guide activities up to 2026.

  • Vision
    – From park football to the world stage – a vision for a global local Wales
  • Strategic objectives
    – Wales on the world stage
    – A flexible and appealing offer
    – A sustainable association for the future
    – A diverse, skilled and engaged football family
    – Inspirational and fit-for-future facilities
    – Clear and effective pathways for progressions
  • Enablers
    – Investment – Insight – Engagement – Image – Systems

The FAW has achieved remarkable growth and unprecedented success for football in Wales, but will need to overcome the significant and unavoidable disruption caused by the pandemic. Infrastructure investment and the support of the diverse and skilled Welsh football family is needed to further strengthen the game in Wales.

A significant success story is the growth of 50% in female participation since EURO 2016, with 8,600 women and girls registered with clubs in Wales.

The development and availability of state-of-the-art facilities and equipment is key in achieving the FAW’s goal of national teams qualifying for World Cups and European Championships. For example, the creation of the FAW’s Football Centre of Excellence at the Vale Resort in Hensol complements both National Football Development Centres at Colliers Park in Wrexham, and Dragon Park in Newport. The development centre in North Wales, Collier’s Park, was created to raise standards and strengthen player pathways, coaching, workforce and development opportunities in the region.

During the pandemic, Welsh senior international players have shared messages of support with the national health authorities, and raised awareness of Welsh government guidance. The FAW has also distributed coronavirus relief financial support and guidance to domestic clubs, and worked with clubs to ensure awareness and availability of further funding opportunities.

UEFA support

UEFA HatTrick programme funding has been instrumental in the delivery of the FAW’s 3G pitch programme. There has been a significant improvement in the quality of pitches, and the contribution towards the sustainability of clubs through the delivery of the 3G programme in partnership with nine domestic licensed clubs. The investment has also strengthened the FAW’s commitment in the key areas of mental health and active inclusion.

HatTrick help has made an important contribution to the following projects:

National Centre for Welsh Football – Colliers Park, Wrexham

  • Creating a state-of-the-art, purpose-built facility providing top-class training, playing, sports science and education facilities.
  • Extending the national centre network to improve training facilities for all the FAW national squads and the delivery of UEFA coaching licence courses.
  • Having a dedicated facility to be used by the FAW and the representative squads.
  • Having a centre of excellence for coach education and sports science.

FAW national training centre and headquarters in Hensol

  • Having a fit-for-purpose and state-of-the-art national centre for elite football that satisfies the future needs and expectations of senior players, coaches and managers.
  • Establishing a long-term and appropriate home for the FAW administration and its national teams.
  • Creating a medical centre of excellence.
  • Completing the FAW national facilities strategy by developing the National Elite Centre for Welsh Football to complement the creation of the National Development Centres in North (Colliers Park) and South Wales (Dragon Park).

Timeline

Association history

Cardiff hosted the 2014 UEFA Super Cup
Cardiff hosted the 2014 UEFA Super Cup©Getty Images

February 1876: The Football Association of Wales is founded by a group of businessmen who want a representative team to play against Scotland.
March 1876: The match against Scotland takes place in Glasgow, with the Scots running out 4-0 winners.
1877: A return fixture against Scotland takes place in Wrexham, and the visitors win 2-0.
1877/78: The Welsh Cup is introduced with the initial aim of finding players of international calibre. Wrexham are the competition's first winners.
1890s: Football begins to take hold in South Wales.
1902: The Welsh Football League is formed.
1912: Cardiff City are the first side from South Wales to lift the Welsh Cup.
1927: Cardiff City win the English FA Cup.
1992: The Cymru Premier is formed to create a national league.
2009: The Welsh Premier League – Wales’ top-level women’s league – is founded.
2012: Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium is a venue for matches in the Olympic football tournament.
2013: Swansea City win the English League Cup.
2013: Wales host the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship finals.
2014: Cardiff hosts the UEFA Super Cup match.
2017: Cardiff stages the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Women’s Champions League finals.

National team competitions

1907: Wales win their first British championship.
1950s:
Wales enter the FIFA World Cup qualifying competition for the first time.
1958:
Wales reach the World Cup finals in Sweden, losing to eventual champions Brazil by a single goal in the quarter-finals.
1976: The Welsh team reaches the UEFA European Championship quarter-finals.
2016: Wales’ first-ever EURO final tournament appearance culminates in a magnificent run to the semi-finals.
2019: A second successive EURO finals appearance is assured.

Stephen Williams
Stephen Williams©FAW

President

Stephen Williams

Stephen Williams was elected as president of the Football Association of Wales (FAW) in June 2021

Noel Mooney
Noel MooneyUEFA

General Secretary

Noel Mooney

Football Association of Wales website