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Ban on professional players in Welsh football tiers 4 and 5 goes ahead

Professional players will not be permitted to play in tiers 4 and 5 of the new Welsh football pyramid this season, it has been decided.

Clubs will not be allowed to place players on contract deals in these bottom two levels.

As revealed by Grassroots North Wales last week, a new rule was set to go before a special general meeting of the FAW on Monday ensuring players in tiers 4 and 5 – classed as Recreational Football – cannot be paid.

This rule was passed. 61(A) is a new rule for this season to prevent professional players at Recreational Level as defined in FAW Rules.

FAW Rules stop players from being paid, other than expenses, as referred to in Association guidelines.

At least one club in Tier 5 last season had professional players on contracts on their books.

Since our story was published, concerns have been expressed over clubs going “underground” and paying players regardless.

A ban on giving an amateur player ‘wages’ would be difficult to police, it has been said.

The FAW says if it receives information that a player is breaching the rule about payment to players, then the national body would investigate and charge the club if appropriate.

It has always been the case that amateur players cannot be paid a wage by a club as a non-contract player. Any club doing that is breaching FAW Rules and could be charged.

Only players placed on contract can receive money for playing football. The contract deems them to be professional players.

FAW Rule 67 now states as follows:
“The application for registration of a player shall be made in accordance with the systems and procedures prescribed by the Association from time to time. Any player who is paid more than the expenses he/she reasonably and properly incurs directly in connection with his/her footballing activity for a club must (a) be registered with the Association to play for that club as a professional player and (b) have a written contract with that club setting out all of the agreed terms in a form approved by the Association and the written contract must be signed by both the player and a duly authorised representative of the club.

“In deciding whether to accept or maintain the registration of a professional player, the Association shall have discretion to take account of any new or replacement contracts, contractual amendments or other arrangements between the player and the club that have not been duly submitted to the Association.

“In any event, the professional player’s written contract must require the club to pay the professional player no less than the national minimum wage (as set by HM Government from time to time) for professional players aged 24 and under and the national living wage (as set by HM Government from time to time) for those 25 and over”.

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