Cymru North managers overjoyed by return of competitive football

Happy Hotspur: Darren Garmey (centre) with Nick Dumbarton (left) and Mike Taylor

Cymru North managers have welcomed news that their league can begin playing competitive games soon.

Yesterday the FAW announced the Tier 2 JD Cymru North and South leagues have been granted ‘elite’ status.

This puts them on a par with the Tier 1 Cymru Premier men’s and women’s leagues, who started their seasons proper in September, but have to stage all matches behind closed doors due to Covid restrictions.

Following confirmation of the news, the FAW National Leagues Board will convene next week to determine an approved format and start date for the 2020/21 season in the JD Cymru North and JD Cymru South.

The leagues will follow the approved FAW Tier 2 Return to Play Regulations in order to safely manage the return of football.

All 32 clubs have recently undergone site visits with FAW representatives to ensure that the stadiums are compliant with social distancing measures.

Holyhead Hotspur manager Darren Garmey said: “This is fantastic news and just what everyone has been waiting to hear.

“It has been a tough few months for clubs like us trying to prepare as best as we can but still without the guarantee of starting back. Now the start is in sight I’m sure this will give the lads a big lift.”

Steven Halliwell

Gresford Athletic boss Steven Halliwell added: “It’s fantastic news and will give loads of people a much needed lift, I know from our point of view everyone at the club has been praying for this news, and the sooner we get back to competitive games again the better.

“We have built a very good squad, we’ve looked really sharp in the friendlies so I’m excited to see what we can achieve this season, whatever the format of league games will be.”

Chris Roberts

Llangefni Town manager Chris Roberts said: “It’s brilliant news and what we have all been waiting and hoping for.

“It’s been a hard few months trying to keep the lads motivated and focused when we still didn’t have an idea of if and when we would start.

“We now know that a start is imminent and can’t wait to get back out there and play competitive football again.”

The Cymru Leagues had already received a boost with news the 44 clubs which make up the Premier, Cymru North and Cymru South are to share a £750,000 payout of National Lottery funding to help cope with the effects of Covid.

The FAW also stated on Thursday it is committed to helping tiers 3-5 in Wales return to football.

“The Association is committed to doing all it can to support the potential return of Tier 3 men’s, which is eligible to be given ‘elite status’ by Sport Wales,” it said in a statement.

“The Association will also continue its discussions with Welsh Government to find a way forward for Tier 4 Men’s and Tier 2 Women’s and below.”

It is likely the return of Tier 2 will be assessed before any commitment is made to bring Tiers 3-5 back in the New Year.

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