Community hub central to sustainable Welsh Premier League -according to National Assembly Committee
19 November 2012
The Welsh Government and the Football Association of Wales (FAW) should explore avenues to ensure Welsh Premier League clubs become hubs for local communities, according to the findings of a National Assembly committee inquiry.
The Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee has recommended that the FAW, together with the Welsh Government, local authorities and the clubs themselves, explore opportunities for financial support for the installation of new types of playing surfaces, also known as third and fourth generation pitches.
Evidence showed that 3G and 4G pitches are low-maintenance, hard-wearing and versatile, allowing them to be used for a range of sports and activities that could benefit a community and provide clubs with a much-needed financial boost, without compromising the quality of the playing surface.
The Committee held a series of meetings around Wales and invited clubs to put forward their concerns and ideas. Many saw the sport’s governing body, the FAW, as irrelevant and couldn’t see the benefits of the strategies developed by the organisation at grass roots level.
“Wales has given the game of football some of the finest players ever seen,” said Ann Jones, Chair of the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee.
“To uncover the next John Charles, Ryan Giggs or Gareth Bale there must be a strong, successful domestic league that will find and develop these players.
“The basis of a successful Welsh Premier League lies in its sustainability, which is why we have recommended that the clubs, the FAW and the Welsh Government explore existing avenues for community development and financial support.
“The installation of third and fourth generation playing surfaces is a big part of this community hub model due to their versatility, and can form the basis of top class facilities to develop football academy structures.
“The Committee noted the significant development already achieved by the Welsh Premier League (WPL) since it was established and the more outward-looking culture from the FAW.
“But we urge all sides to begin building better relationships with each other. Without everyone’s co-operation, the Welsh Premier League will struggle to move forward.”
The Committee makes nine recommendations in its report, including:
The FAW and local authorities should explore opportunities for WPL clubs wishing to develop the Community Hub model to seek financial support for the development of the new style of pitches.
As part of the FAW‘s proposed Community Hub model, the FAW and local authorities should work together to ensure that the clubs have assistance to reach all parts of their communities.
The FAW needs to prioritise communication and relationship-building with the WPL clubs, because without their co-operation, it will not be possible to deliver any of their strategies.
Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee