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MONDAY 4th JUNE Cyncoed Campus and Jenner Park, warm and sunny
EVIA REGION 1 AMATEURS OF MACEDONIA 0
SOUTH WALES 5 REGION OF GOTHENBURG 0
(UEFA Regions Cup, Qualifying Group A)

Wales was chosen as a host country in one of the qualifying groups in this year's Regions Cup, which is probably UEFA's least-understood competition. It's an oddity among European tournaments, not quite a club competition, nor an international representative one, and has its own set of entry criteria and rules. Even seasoned and respected observers of world, European and amateur football confess to having a less than complete grasp of the Regions Cup, so it's not surprising that the general public are in the dark. Some of the reporting this week has been pretty misleading too - one online source referring to the Welsh players involved as receiving "Wales call-ups". So before we get to the games, let's try and give them some accurate context:

Firstly, it's a competition strictly for "amateur" footballers. No player who has ever played in a national top-level league (so including the Welsh Premier) would be eligible, nor any who has been on a professional or semi-pro contract.

How countries arrive at their one nominated entrant is up to them: most, like Wales, organise some form of inter-regional contest between selections drawn from one or more local leagues - the South Wales FA squad consists mainly of players from the South Wales Alliance and lowest rung of the Welsh League, and qualified by winning a competition involving the other five Welsh regions. There's a common belief that it's possible for countries to enter an amateur club rather than a selection, but that's expressly forbidden in the rules - squads have to be drawn from at least three different clubs. The smallest countries can enter a selection drawn from their whole territory - San Marino for instance is so small it doesn't have regions.

The other factor which causes some of the confusion is that UEFA requires the national Football Associations to take responsibility for group organisation, finances and logistics, so it's the FAW who are leading the 'hosting' this week, not the South Wales FA. (to continue reading click 'Read More')

Published in Football
Tuesday, 03 April 2018 10:04

South Wales into Europe again

EASTER MONDAY 2nd APRIL. Latham Park, heavy rain.
SOUTH WALES F.A. 2 NORTH WALES COAST F.A. 0 (FAW Regions Cup final)

Of all the FAW's national competitions, the Regions Cup seems to get the least attention. This is odd, as it carries the prize of a place in a UEFA competition. Run over two seasons, select teams of grassroots players from the six Welsh regions contest two groups (north and south) with the two group winners meeting in the final.

The current competition has been running since autumn 2016. Of the twelve scheduled fixtures, only eleven have been played - thankfully the postponed Gwent v West Wales game has no significance, as South Wales had already topped the group table. Will it ever be played now?

In the build-up to the Easter Monday final, publicity and coverage has been scarce: a nice piece on the North Wales Coast squad in the Daily Post is the sum total really. Search on the web and the fixture is virtually impossible to find (even on the FAW site!) though it's had a few mentions on Twitter. Even if Easter Monday had been looking like a fine spring day, the chances of a good turnout at Latham Park are slim to non-existent. As it is, dire warnings of snow, fog, heavy rain are enough to put off all but the most intrepid traveller....

Published in Football

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