FAW is asked – why are tier 5 clubs in Wales missing out on FIFA relief payments ?

Chris O’Neal (right) wants a better deal for tier 5 clubs in North Wales

The chief officer of the Football Association of Wales has been asked to explain why bottom-tier clubs in the national pyramid will miss out completely on latest FIFA funding.

North Wales Coast FA councillor Christopher O’Neal is urging FAW CEO Jonathan Ford to do more to help tier 5 clubs financially.

Almost 50 clubs in North Wales have been placed in the fifth tier of the new pyramid and currently none of them will get a penny from a £750,000 payout under FIFA’s COVID-19 Relief Plan.

The FAW’s slice, labelled a Matchday Support Grant, is designed to protect the future of the domestic game.

The funding is available as a result of the FIFA COVID-19 Relief Plan, which distributed a solidarity grant of $1m (circa £750K) to all FIFA member associations, to alleviate the financial impact of the pandemic.

The FAW Matchday Support Grant is providing funds to eligible FAW and Area Association affiliated clubs across Tiers 1-4 of the Men’s pyramid and Tiers 1-2 of the Women’s. All eligible clubs have been contacted and applications to access the funding are currently being submitted.

In his e-mail to Mr Ford, Mr O’Neal wrote: “As an elected councillor on the NWCFA I represent teams across all tiers including that of tier 5.

“Can you tell me why no money has been made available for tier 5 clubs from this money received by the FAW from FIFA?

“I do understand that the FAW have signposted clubs in tier 5 and below in South Wales to Sports Wales, however we have no involvement with Sports Wales and they are nothing more than another body who has received funding from Welsh Government for distribution via application.

“Was the money the FAW received solely for tier 1-4 and can we see some sort of explanation from FIFA of this ?

“The teams I represent in tier 5 are all finding these times challenging and it makes it worse when the governing body in Wales appears to be shutting the door in your face when it comes to support.

“The governing body, be it yourself and your directors, need to remember that these clubs pay money into the Football Association Of Wales LTD each and every week through administration, registrations, fines, competition entry etc – but what do tier 5 clubs really get from the governing body ?

“I urge you now to consider this e-mail with the best way forward for these clubs and issue some sort of financial package of support without undermining them by signposting them to another awarding body.”

Mr Ford recently admitted that Welsh football is in a ‘dire financial situation’ and appealed to the Welsh Government for help.

The purpose of the FAW Matchday Support Grant is:
To support clubs fixed costs.
To allow clubs to ensure that they retain their facilities by not defaulting on lease payments.
To make the changes necessary to satisfy the latest FAW and Government guidance.
To ensure their stadia are safer for the return of football and supporters.
To supplement income due to playing behind closed doors.

Eligible Men’s Tier 1-3 clubs had until today to submit their application in order to access the grant.

Clubs in Tier 4 have until Monday, 9 November.

For Women’s Tier 1 clubs, half of the grant will be paid in 2020 to the current nine Welsh Premier Women’s League teams.

The second half of the grant will be paid in May 2021 to the 8 teams confirmed in Tier 1 for the 2021/22 season.

Confirmed Women’s Tier 2 clubs for the 2021/22 season will receive the grant in May 2021.

Full details have been communicated to the relevant clubs.

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