Saturday, 15 June 2013

Barry and Llanelli kicked in to touch

The Football Association of Wales have decided that two former heavy-weights of domestic football in Wales, Barry Town and Llanelli AFC, were to be denied membership to the Welsh Football League structure.
The FAW released the following statement that will condemn both sides to park leagues soccer next season.
"The FAW Council held their bimonthly meeting at Betws y Coed on Thursday, June 13th 2013. On the agenda was the application of both Barry Town United AFC and AFC Llanelli for full membership to the FAW for the 2013-14 season. The Council members considered a recommendation that both clubs should be admitted into the Welsh Football League. The FAW Council voted against this recommendation. Both Barry Town United AFC and AFC Llanelli have been instructed to apply for membership to their respective Area Associations.”
The council voted overwhelmingly to deny both Barry and Llanelli entry into the Welsh League by 21 votes to three, despite the domestic committee of the FAW recommending that both sides were to be placed at the lower echelons of the Welsh League system.
As is always the case in life, this was not a black and white scenario - Barry Town in my opinion are the unlucky ones in this instance. They were removed from the Welsh League towards the end of the season by their maverick ‘owner’ Stuart Lovering, but plans were in place to reform under the new name of Barry Town United.
Barry, who won the Welsh Premier League title seven times, had got the support of a 1,250 signature online petition, and yesterday supporters were stunned by the news.
“It appears the FAW have ignored the wishes of the local football community and this flies in the face of what the Association say they are about in involving local communities," said secretary David Cole.
Many will sympathise with the way Barry have been treated and realise that it is through no fault of the Supporters club that they were in this position and perhaps some common sense should have played a part. The Supporters club have run the team since 2008, raising money to do so and involving the community in enterprising initiatives, but their efforts were ultimately deemed to be worthless by the FAW council.
On the other hand, we look at Llanelli who only two years ago defeated Dynamo Tbilisi in Europe but were wound up at the High Court earlier in the year.
It is obvious the powers that be would find it difficult to condone a side that ran up huge debts to simply be allowed back into the Welsh League system - it would be a dangerous precedent to set.
However, South Wales is severely lacking in football clubs striving for Welsh Premier League status and to see the loss of two such clubs is a huge blow, as North Wales teams continue to dominate at domestic level.
While Barry look set to start all over again and play in the Cardiff and District League, Llanelli would have to apply to the Carmarthenshire League, although their supremo Bob Jeffrey says it is unlikely to happen.

“It is a dark day for Welsh football when two clubs with so much history are treated like this.”


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