Cymru Leagues clubs get £750,000 funding boost

Connah's Quay Nomads are the reigning Cymru Premier champions
Connah's Quay Nomads are the reigning Cymru Premier champions

The Cymru Leagues' 44 clubs are to receive £750,000 of National Lottery funding to support them during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The financial package has been established by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) and The National Lottery and facilitated by the UK Government.

Clubs in England's National League, including Wrexham, received a £10m support package in October.

FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford welcomed the funding package.

Cymru Premier clubs returned to action in September but games have been played behind closed doors due to the pandemic while the FAW have applied to Sport Wales for the second tier Cymru North and Cymru South leagues to be given elite athlete status to allow them to play.

Ford admitted in October that the game in Wales was battling a "dire situation" because of Covid-19 and said the FAW was facing a "massive" financial loss because of the pandemic.

In October, Fifa awarded a £750,000 grant to support clubs in the top four tiers of its men's domestic leagues and the top two tiers of women's football in Wales will also receive £375,000 to help offset the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

But Ford said that money alone would not be enough and called for further financial support.

"At the FAW, we are incredibly grateful for our unique partnership with The National Lottery and the funding stream which has been provided for our clubs across the Cymru Leagues, while matches continue to be played behind closed doors," Ford said.

Nigel Railton, chief executive of National Lottery operator Camelot, said: "We're thrilled to be able to partner with the Football Association of Wales to provide vital funding for these incredibly important clubs in the Cymru Leagues.

Secretary of State for Wales, Simon Hart MP, said that Cymru Leagues clubs played a huge role in their local communities and added: "This funding package will help enable clubs to keep going until fans can safely return."

Newtown finance director Barry Gardner warned in September that playing games without fans was "not sustainable" and some clubs might not survive the season, while Aberystwyth Town chairman Donald Kane warned clubs were in danger of being driven "to the edge of the cliff" without further financial support.