The Football Association of Wales (FAW) has announced that the projected profit from 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification will be directly invested in the grassroots game.
Article top media content
The measure is aimed at improving facilities and deliver the strategic objectives set in the 'Our Wales | Ein Cymru' plan.
“As we strive to create a leading football nation, it’s vitally important that the FAW and its funding partners step up and take full advantage of the opportunity that qualification for the World Cup presents us,” explained FAW CEO Noel Mooney.
“Grassroots facilities for football across Cymru (Wales) are particularly poor and our key strategic objective is to tackle this now.
“We want to build grassroots clubs across Cymru that act as wellness spaces for the community and to drive the Cymru football movement forward through health, culture, music, language, sustainability, equality, diversity and inclusion.
"We cannot do this," Mooney added, "without significant support from Welsh Government, Local Authorities and DCMS (UK Government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport) but today we demonstrate our complete commitment to addressing the chronic issues in Cymru’s grassroots football facilities to enable girls and boys to play football in decent conditions.”
Following his appointment as CEO one year ago, Mooney made improving the infrastructure across the nation a priority.
The projected £4m (€4.6m) prize fund from World Cup qualification follows on from the £3m (€3.5m) of financial assistance that was delivered to 47 separate projects across Wales in May in the first phase of the FAW's Grassroots Facilities Fund programme, which was developed by in conjunction other stakeholder investor, including Welsh Government, UK Government, Sport Wales, UEFA and FIFA.
The long-term project is designed to ensure growth in participation in sport and recreational activity with stronger and more stable community-centric clubs. This is designed to encourage more player participation and volunteers from across all ages and backgrounds, with a particular focus on helping achieve the FAW’s target of doubling participation figures in the women and girls’ game.
Wales captain Gareth Bale played a significant role in his country achieving World Cup qualification for the first time since 1958, and has shown his support for the project.
“We are delighted that qualifying for the World Cup finals also means that grassroots clubs across Wales will benefit as the FAW support the development of inspirational, fit-for-purpose facilities.”
Bale and Mooney's comments were echoed by FAW President Steve Williams.
“We have a once in a generation chance to improve the health and well-being of the nation both on and off the pitch by partnering with our members and stakeholders to promote, develop and care for the people who will want to take part in sport as a direct result of Cymru playing at its first World Cup since 1958."
"Improvement in our grassroots facilities is crucial to this so that football and other sports can continue to be successful in the future.”