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North Wales Coast FA ask clubs: “Be prepared to play on any day of the week.”

Nantlle Vale manager Daniel Bell (left) believes most tier 3 matches should be played at weekends

The North Wales Coast FA is urging its clubs to make themselves open to play matches on any day of the week when football finally returns.

NWCFA interim secretary Gareth Jones has written to clubs with the request following a recent full council meeting.

No league below tier 1 has kicked a competitive ball yet in the 2020-21 season.

With Wales currently in full-lockdown, the FAW’s phased return to football has also been suspended.

The situation will be reviewed when lockdown ends on November 9.

Clubs hope the Welsh Government will not only give an instant go-ahead to resume friendly matches, but also provide a definite start date to when league combat can commence.

The FAW insist this is the outcome they want too.

The NWCFA believe a more flexible approach to playing games will ease the inevitable fixture list congestion.

Even if competitive matches were to commence in November – which seems a long shot at present – the season would still be kicking off three months late.

Mr Jones wrote: “Having discussed the possible fixture congestion that may occur during the coming season, the NWCFA resolved that senior leagues should look at arranging fixtures on Saturdays and Sundays, and all other weekday evenings where possible in order to avoid fixture congestion during the forthcoming 2020-21 season.”

The NWCFA have already cancelled the Intermediate Cup and Junior Cup competitions, which affect tiers 4 and 5.

Grassroots North Wales gauged the reaction of managers in tiers 3 and 5 to the request that games take place any day of the week where possible.

Nantlle Vale manager Daniel Bell gave a detailed response.

He said: “I believe majority of games in tier 3 should be played at the weekend. Either Saturday or Sunday. Unless the game is a local game where the away team have to travel less than half an hour. “

Daniel added the following views:

Finances

“Clubs are still training, having to pay facility costs on a weekly basis, with no revenue coming in. Average cost of a full pitch 3G in North Wales for an hour is in the region of £90. For a team like Nantlle Vale that train twice a week, for two hours per session it is a lot of money for us maybe to not even kick a ball this season.

“Trouble is if we cancel a slot we will lose it to another local side as 3G facilities are in demand! Clubs are being drained financially with no revenue coming in, we have had to pay all affiliation and registration costs for the season, the FAW have even sent a reminder for the deadline to apply for a tier 2 license.

“How can you know whether to apply for a tier 2 license when you have no idea where you are going to be in the league (usually have a good idea by December having played half a season). This is just additional cost and pressure on clubs.”

Midweek games

“Working and travelling, depleted squads – we have to remember that most lads in tier 3 play for free and work full time.

“Work must come first as it pays the bills, so I think this could mean we see depleted squads travelling to midweek games if teams have to travel a great distance to an away game.

“Traffic for the likes of Nantlle Vale travelling down the coast means preparation pre-match is very difficult. This will give home teams an unfair advantage.”

Daniel Bell (left) with assistant Sion Eifion Jones

Injury

“With less time for preparation pre-match, and the possibility of 3 games a week we are going to see a big increase in injuries.

“These boys aren’t built to be able to play 90 minutes, three times a week on a regular occurrence. They are amateur footballers who play for the love of the game.

Cup games

“Do we need to be playing cup games? I believe the league should be the priority. The clubs could also be refunded cup fees.

“There is also the idea of beginning the league later on in the new year and moving to a summer league format. With the amount of games postponed due to weather and bad pitches during the normal season I believe it would be a good idea. Also I believe attendance levels would rise as there would not be Premier League games to rival local games and the fair weather would attract crowds.

“We need football back asap, for people’s mental and physical health. Be it players, coaches, fans, committee members. For club futures, financially we are going to lose local clubs.

“When football does return, it must be with fans. We cannot have tier 3 football with no revenue coming through the gate.

“This is clearly possible as on average crowds are between 50-150 people. Spread around a football pitch, in the outdoors, following government protocol. This is possible!”

Llysfaen manager Emlyn Robert Jones said:

Emlyn Robert Jones

“The longer teams have no start date, the harder it’s going to be for teams to get midweek games in.

“People are struggling due to the global pandemic and people are working what ever hours they can get at the moment. I can’t speak for other teams but Sunday would be out of the question for us.

“I don’t see why they can’t extend the new season, have a quick turnaround before going into the following one (if they manage to get this season off the ground) as they could have done last season (after all we are only classed as ‘grassroots’).”

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