Wales FA reveals plan to transform national side into one of 'world's great footballing nations' 1 month ago

Wales FA reveals plan to transform national side into one of 'world's great footballing nations'

Wales plan to become one of the 'world's great footballing nations'

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) has unveiled a new six-year plan with the intention of transforming Wales into a leading football nation.

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The purpose of the strategy - which stretches from 2021 to 2026 - is to ensure that football continues to grow in Wales, with better accessibility and inclusivity for those involved, or those people looking to get involved.

The FAW also stated that their intention is to reach 120,000 registered footballers, double the size of the women's and girls' game and ensure that facilities within the grassroots game are further developed.

'Our Wales' have set out a number of aims, with improvement to facilities and increasing participation two of the priorities, alongside bringing success onto the pitch.

"There's so much support in Wales for football," said FAW chief executive Noel Mooney following the launch of the strategy. 

"Now is the moment to align our resources to become one of the world's great footballing nations."

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Defender Rhiannon Roberts in action for Wales during the FIFA Women's 2023 World Cup Qualifier against Kazakhstan. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

In order to work on improving the gender balance within the game, the FAW are aiming to work alongside partners in the country to 'guarantee the female game has the platform to reach its potential'.

As well as this, Mooney is keen to ensure that there are clear routes into Wales' senior teams for grassroots players.

"We are striving for excellence both on and off the field, where Welsh football and the FAW are synonymous with high performance," he stated.

"We have identified six strategic pillars and we will deliver these with our partners to create a happier, healthier and successful Wales.

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"Despite the great love for football in Wales, it is clearly not reflected in our grassroots facilities, which need to be improved, and the FAW, along with our partners, will need to demonstrate leadership and courage to reach the standards we require."

The Football Association of Wales began its last strategy in 2015, when the men's national side qualified for the European Championship finals for the first time, where they reached the semi-finals in a memorable Euro 2016 tournament.

Following their historic run in 2016, the men's team also made it through the group stages at Euro 2020 after reaching the tournament for a second time in a row.

On the other hand, Wales' women's side have never qualified for a major tournament finals. Most recently, they missed out on a play-off spot for the 2021 European Championships as a result of Northern Ireland possessing a better head-to-head record than them, courtesy of away goals.

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Despite this, they have made a strong start to their 2023 World Cup qualifying campaign, winning their opening two games 6-0 and 1-0 respectively.

Wales' Gareth Bale in action during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Estonia. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Speaking on the 'Our Wales' strategy, FAW president Steve Williams insisted that, while they have the vision regarding what exactly they want to achieve, they require support from a number of different parties.

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"We've got the vision, but we can't go it alone. Our strategy is called 'Our Wales', and means we need partners like Welsh government, Sport Wales, local authorities, and businesses to work together to help usher in an era of Wales as a leading football nation," he stated. 

"Wales, like anywhere, is on the road to recovery from coronavirus. If we are to build back better, then people's health and wellbeing is very much part of that, and that includes making sure anyone is able to take part in our nation's favourite sport in their local area as well as nationally."

Wales' men's team are next in action on October 8 when they travel to Czech Republic, with Gemma Grainger's women's side also facing an away tie when they face Slovenia on October 22.

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