MANY club officials, players and coaches alike have been left wondering which league they will be playing in next season. However, following yesterday’s announcement from the Football Association of Wales (FAW) that 77 clubs have successfully applied for tier three across the country – things are starting to become a little clearer both up North and down South, as well as in the middle.
As expected, ground criteria will be the downfall of many teams around the country, however, for many other clubs their hard work in upgrading facilities has paid off. Here’s what we know so far about the top two tiers (Cymru North is North Wales’ second division, Cymru South is the equivalent down South):
Barry Town United
Cardiff Metropolitan University
Connah’s Quay Nomads
Flint Town United
The New Saints
CYMRU NORTH (TO BE RENAMED FAW CHAMPIONSHIP NORTH & MID)
Airbus UK, Bangor City, Buckley Town, Colwyn Bay, Conwy Borough, Gresford Athletic, Guilsfield, Holyhead Hotspur, Holywell Town, Llandudno, Llangefni Town, Llanidloes Town, Llanrhaeadr, Penrhyncoch, Prestatyn Town, Ruthin Town.
CYMRU SOUTH (TO BE RENAMED FAW CHAMPIONSHIP SOUTH & MID)
Briton Ferry Llansawel
Cambrian and Clydach Vale
Port Talbot Town
In terms of tier three up North (which was previously the Welsh Alliance One and Two) and Welsh National League in Wrexham area, these leagues used to be run by area associations, but will be controlled by the FAW as of 2020/21 season.
The FAW National Leagues Board will meet on July 10 to finalise membership of the new Tier 3 Leagues. This week’s meeting confirmed that, of the 102 applicant clubs across Wales, 77 were awarded Tier 3 Certification in the first instance.
Unsuccessful clubs can now appeal and the independent appeals panel will meet remotely on July 8 to discuss these further. Following the conclusion of this process, the Tier 3 will be set-up.
Tier three will include two leagues of 16 teams up North and the same down south, meaning that a total of 64 teams will play across the four leagues at that level. Any club’s not chosen will be filtered down the leagues even further.
The 26 North Wales-based clubs awarded Tier 3 status for 2020/21 are (former leagues in brackets):
Brickfield Rangers (Welsh National League Premier)
Brymbo (Welsh National League Premier)
Cefn Albion (Welsh National League Premier)
Chirk AAA (Welsh National League Premier)
Holywell Town (Welsh National League Premier)
Llay Welfare (Welsh National League Premier)
Llanuwchllyn (Welsh National League Premier)
Mold Alexandra (Welsh National League Premier)
Penycae (Welsh National League Premier)
Rhostyllen (Welsh National League Premier)
Rhydymwyn (Welsh National League Premier)
Hawarden Rangers (Welsh National League Div. One)
Blaenau Amateurs (Welsh Alliance One)
Denbigh Town (Welsh Alliance One)
Holyhead Hotspur (Welsh Alliance One) – but they should be promoted to Cymru North as champions of division
Nantlle Vale (Welsh Alliance One)
Llandudno Albion (Welsh Alliance One)
Llanrwst United (Welsh Alliance One)
St Asaph City (Welsh Alliance One)
Aberffraw (Welsh Alliance Two)
Barmouth & Dyffryn United (Welsh Alliance Two)
Pwllheli (Welsh Alliance Two)
Y Felinheli (Welsh Alliance Two)
Corwen (Relegated from Cymru North)
Porthmadog (relegated from Cymru North)
Glantraeth (Gwynedd League)
Clubs refused Tier 3 status were:
FC Queen’s Park (Welsh National League Premier)
Rhos Aelwyd (Welsh National League Premier)
Saltney Town (Welsh National League Premier)
Lex XI (Welsh National League Premier)
Bodedern Athletic (Welsh Alliance One)
Greenfield (Welsh Alliance One)
Mynydd Llandegai (Welsh Alliance One)
Penmaenmawr Phoenix (Welsh Alliance Two)
Bangor 1876 (Gwynedd League)
SO, WHAT ABOUT TIERS 4 AND 5?
The good news is, once the decision is made regarding Tier 3 on July 10, these leagues will then start to take shape – with two new leagues formed within the NWCFA area.
With the Anglesey League, Gwynedd League and the Vale of Clwyd & Conwy Leagues all dissolved, the former two will be merged together to form the North Wales Coast West Football Leagues (2 divisions) and the VCC leagues will form the North Wales Coast East Football League (2 divisions).
So, the teams you have left over in the North Wales Coast West are (which will be placed into either tier 4 or 5) are most likely to be: Arriva Bangor, Bodorgan (?), Cefni, Cemaes Bay, Holyhead Town, Llandegfan, Llanfairpwll, Mountain Rangers, Valley, Bethesda Athletic, Bontnewydd, Bro Goronwy, Caergybi, Llanerchymedd, Llangoed, Llanystumdwy, Menai Tigers, Nefyn United, Trearddur Bay Bulls, Talysarn Celts, Waunfawr, Llanrug United, Llanberis, Penrhyndeudraeth, Gaerwen, Gwalchmai, Amlwch Town and Pentraeth.
As well as any new teams who may have applied and also Bodedern Athletic, Bangor 1876 and Mynydd Llandegai should they fail to get into Tier 3. However, teams such as Holyhead Hotspur Reserves are expected to join a Reserves League (TBC).
In the North Wales Coast East, the leagues should remain largely the same as before, although some clubs might drop out due to ground criteria. You will however also have the likes of Mochdre Sports, Llandudno Junction, Llandudno Amateurs, Kinmel Bay, Llannefydd, Glan Conwy, Llandyrnog United and Prestatyn Sports (all previously Welsh Alliance) floating around, as well as Penmaenmawr Phoenix and Greenfield if they fail to get into Tier 3 (although latter is likely to join North East Wales League set-up as they are Flintshire-based).
Each of the four leagues are expected to have no more than 16 teams in each and the Premier Divisions will class as Tier 4, whilst Division One leagues will be classed as Tier 5. Clubs who complete the season as Division One champions or runners-up, will be considered for promotion to the Premier providing they meet the ground criteria for the Premier Division by April 30 at the end of each season.
In the North East Wales region, the Welsh National League and North East Wales League have been dissolved. The NEWFA has formed another division, also called the North East Wales League, consisting of a Premier Division, Championship and Reserves League.
So the Welsh National League Premier Division joins Tier 3, Welsh National League Division One becomes Tier 4 (North East Wales League Premier) and North East Wales League becomes Tier 5 (North East Wales League Championship).
So, although it is all still a little confusing it is, at least, becoming a little bit clearer as to who will be playing where now.