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Meanwhile, news has emerged that the FAW has been in secret negotiations with UEFA about the eligibility of the 6 "Exile" clubs to participate in European competition. Of course, there has been no press release from the FAW on this stunning affair, as you might expect, so I'll tell you myself about what is going on.
A brief background to this affair was that when the Welsh Premier League was launched in 1992, many Welsh clubs kept out of the league and continued their affiliation to the English leagues in which they played. They feared that the new league would be uncompetitive and wouldn't support the investment that they had made in their infrastructure.
As time progressed, and the Welsh Premier League established itself, more and more Welsh clubs returned to the fold. Today there are just six Welsh clubs that play their football outside the country. One can speculate on their reason for remaining outside. The standard of football of clubs in the Welsh Premier League has improved to such an extent that some of the Exiles can no longer compete, and they are afraid of humiliating themselves on the football field after all of their sabre-rattling.
Of course, as these six clubs play their football in English competition, they are not eligible to represent Wales in the European club competitions, much to their chagrin. It goes without saying that they stand no chance whatever of qualifying for Europe as long as they play in English competition, and look on with dismay as the leading Welsh clubs wrestle with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and FC Porto.
They have for many years run a campaign to destabilise the FAW, and this was at one time led by Sam Hamman, former chairman of Cardiff City FC. He showed what he thought of Wales and the Welsh when he signed the former Manchester City defender Spencer Prior in the summer of 2001. Included in the terms of the deal was that Prior had to have a physical liaison with a sheep. That is the kind of person with whom the FAW has been dealing, and that is beneath anyone's dignity and beneath contempt.
The news that leaked out the other day that the FAW wants to admit one of the Exiles into European competiton (presumably at the expense of one of the clubs competing in Welsh domestic football) is absolutely shocking. One would have thought that giving one of only four European place to an exile club at the expense of a domestic club is a matter of grave concern to the Welsh domestic clubs, and they should have been the first to have been made aware of the FAW's plans.
That the FAW should be looking at problems in Welsh football is to be applauded, but IN SECRET? When I used to do things in secret and talk about people behind their backs, I was in Junior (Elementary) School and grew out of it when I was about 8 or 9. The fact that the FAW is engaged in secret negotiations is a sign of two separate issues -

  1. The FAW lacks the courage of its convictions
  2. The FAW is ashamed of what it is doing

One of the problem is that it is a medieval autocratic self-perpetuating oligarchy that considers itself answerable to nobody except itself. You've presumably already read higher up the page about the contempt with which the FAW treats the Welsh Assembly. And that is the highest authority in the land. If David Collins isn't prepared to treat that august body with respect, what hope do the ordinary members and the football clubs have? All of this gives the impression that David Collins treats the Welsh clubs as nothing more than his own personal pawns on his own personal chessboard, to be moved around in any direction as he sees fit. With, of course, no thought at all for the clubs, officials, supporters and players.
I'm not quite sure what Mr Collins' game is. It's not football, and it's certainly not cricket. Whatever it is, it's a betrayal of all of the clubs in Wales who, at much personal sacrifice to themselves, supported the FAW in the attempt to create a national league. Clubs like Bangor City and Newtown made an enormous sacrifice to help you fulfill your ambitions back in 1992, Mr. Collins. If you had any decency at all, Mr. Collins, you would realise that you owe it to them to help them fulfill theirs.
There is nothing less honourable than stabbing these clubs in the back, but then again there is nothing honourable about any of the FAW's actions in this affair. It's just more shame and disgrace to lay at the FAW's door.

As a courtesy, I've drawn the FAW's attention to this article. My mail was read by Andrew Howard on Wednesday 14 February 2007 at 09:20:16. I shall, as usual, post any reply that I receive.

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