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A day of smiles and scowls for Welsh domestic football

New champions Connah’s Quay Nomads (red) and Caernarfon Town do battle at Deeside Stadium this season. Pic: NCM Media

A mixture of smiles and scowls will have greeted yesterday’s early ending of the 2019-20 domestic Welsh football season.

The Football Association of Wales Board of Directors ratified the recommendation of the National League Board and agreed to curtail the campaign for Tiers 1 to 4.

The decision was taken as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and in accordance with Welsh Government’s lockdown guidelines and measures.

Final league positions have been determined on a points-per-game method, but the FAW Board are yet to decide on promotion and relegation between leagues with a decision to be made “in due course.”

Points-per-game will also be applied in deciding the final outcomes in Tiers 5 and 6, which comprise what the FAW derogatorily describe as ‘recreational leagues’.

The FAW Community Game Board had previously decided that once a solution had been confirmed for Tiers 1-4 on how to conclude the 2019/20 season, “Recreational Football” in the country would follow suit.

SMILES 😁

Here are the champions confirmed so far……
Cymru Premier: Connah’s Quay Nomads
Cymru North: Prestatyn Town
Welsh Alliance Division One: Holyhead Hotspur
Welsh Alliance Division Two: Y Felinheli
Welsh National League Premier Division: Holywell Town
Welsh National League Division One: Hawarden Rangers

Tiers 5 and 6 have yet to be confirmed, but the current situation stands
Gwynedd League: Bangor 1876 lead table by 10 points
Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League Premier Division: Rhuddlan Town lead by 12 points
Vale of Clwyd and Conwy League Division One: NFA lead by three points with second-place Llysfaen having played a game less
North East Wales League: Brymbo Victoria lead by one point
Anglesey League: Cemaes Bay lead by two points

Bangor 1876 and Rhuddlan Town are certain to be declared champions, but official confirmation is awaited on the other three divisions/leagues.

SCOWLS 🤬

Before football was suspended in March, Caernarfon Town had two opportunities to qualify for Europe – via the Cymru Premier play-offs or the Welsh Cup, where they have reached the semi-finals.

Yesterday, however, both doors were slammed in the Canaries’ faces.

The Welsh Cup, which offers a European berth to the winners, or the runners-up if the trophy-lifters also finish Welsh Premier champions, has been postponed – for now at least.

Despite intentions to play out the semi-finals at an unconfirmed future date, this date would come after the deadline for Europe inclusion.

In the last four, Caernarfon Town had been paired with Cardiff Metropolitan, while The New Saints face Prestatyn Town.

In accordance of UEFA guidelines, the FAW have had to assign that European qualification spot elsewhere, so fourth-placed Barry Town become the final recipients of a European qualifying slot.

Fifth-placed Caernarfon, therefore, miss out at the double.

Yesterday’s FAW statement ⚽️

“The FAW Board took into consideration the health and safety of all those involved with these leagues.
“Furthermore, the FAW Board also considered the specific economic and financial impact of attempting to finish the season during the pandemic and therefore felt it was imperative not to risk the long-term financial stability of the leagues and their clubs.
“It was also recognised that the JD Cymru Premier could not be concluded prior to the deadline set by UEFA for European competition entry.
“Clubs in the JD Cymru Premier, JD Cymru North, JD Cymru South and the Orchard Welsh Premier Women’s League were consulted on how the season should be concluded.
“The views and information provided by the clubs were communicated to the FAW National League Board and the FAW Board of Directors.
“The FAW Board agreed that Tier 1 to 4 leagues would be curtailed and that an unweighted points per game method be applied to determine the final standings.
“As a consequence, the European Play-Offs in the JD Cymru Premier will not take place.
“As a result, the Cymru Premier and Welsh Premier Women’s League European competition nominations were determined as follows:
UEFA Champions League – Connah’s Quay Nomads (1st Place)
UEFA Europa League – The New Saints (2nd Place)
UEFA Europa League – Bala Town (3rd Place)
UEFA Women’s Champions League – Swansea City Ladies (1st Place)
UEFA will be formally notified of these nominations prior to the May 25 deadline.
“Finally, the FAW Board decided that prize money for the Cymru Premier, Cymru North, Cymru South and the Welsh Premier Women’s League would be distributed in accordance to the final league positions after the points per game method was applied.
“The FAW Board are yet to decide on promotion and relegation between leagues with a decision to be made in due course, taking into account full consideration of the FAW’s Pyramid Regulations.”
Prestatyn Town are champions of Cymru North, but they have failed on appeal to win a domestic licence. The club is considering taking the FAW to the Court of Arbitration.
Depending on what happens, Flint Town United are in a position to be promoted to the Cymru Premier having been confirmed as Cymru North runners-up.

JD Welsh Cup 🏆

The FAW added: “Due to the specific economic and financial justifications which would make continuing the JD Welsh Cup to its conclusion by the UEFA deadline for European competition nominations on 20 July unfeasible, the FAW National Cup Board recommended to the FAW Board that the competition be postponed.
“The recommendation was ratified by the FAW Board.
“The Cup Board felt it would be financially imprudent to conclude prior to the UEFA deadline, as doing so could place the long-term financial stability of the competition and the clubs at risk
“The Cup Board hope that the remainder of the competition can resume prior to the start of the next football season, whenever that may be and when it is safe and economically viable to do so, however, this is not possible before the UEFA deadline.
“In accordance with the UEFA guidelines, as the FAW is not able to determine a domestic cup winner on sporting merit, the highest ranked non-qualified club from the JD Cymru Premier will qualify for the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League at the stage initially reserved for the lowest ranking top domestic league representative.
This representative has been determined as Barry Town United.
“Consequently, each representative of the JD Cymru Premier then enters the UEL at the stage initially reserved for the domestic league representative ranked immediately above.”

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