Pritchard calls for Premier expansion

Reporter:

Gavin Grosvenor

PHIL Pritchard has called for the Dafabet Welsh Premier to be increased to 16 clubs.

The Welshpool based Football Association of Wales (FAW) life vice president was supported by Caersws’ Phil Jones in tabling a motion to expand league membership at a council meeting in Cwmbran last week.

Despite the motion failing by 18 votes to 12, Pritchard (pictured) plans to maintain his fight to increase the membership of the league.

Cllr Pritchard said: “I placed a recommendation to the council that it should return to 16 clubs, something I fully believe in, and will be making a motion at the FAW Rules annual meeting in May in the hope that all divisions in the Welsh football pyramid will be run with a maximum of 16 clubs in the future.

“I believe it is something the supporters want and the format of the Welsh Premier should be something which all clubs have a say, not just its current members.”

The annual Dafabet Welsh Premier chairmen’s meeting, held in Newtown in November, ended with the majority of member clubs confirming their wish to continue with a maximum of 12 clubs.

However Pritchard insisted such clubs should not have the only say on the future direction of the Welsh Premier.

“This is a very important issue,” said Pritchard. “One which every affiliated club should have the right to have their say.

“Should the Welsh Premier expand to 16 clubs, as I am confident a majority of Welsh club’s would support, it would have a knock on effect down the pyramid so it is only right every club has their say.

“This has become a major issue in Welsh football and several Welsh Premier clubs spoke in favour of expanding the league to a maximum of 16 clubs.

“It is up to the Welsh FA to ensure all clubs heard, not just the existing Welsh Premier members who have been told such expansion would reduce their funding.”

Cllr Jones endorsed his fellow life vice president’s call for expansion which failed by seven votes.

“Phil Pritchard put up a notice of motion, which I backed, recommending that the Welsh Premier should run with 16 clubs. The vote was not unanimous and is not in force for two years.”

At FAW statement read: “At the FAW Council meeting in Cwmbran on Thursday December 15, a notice of motion to increase the number of participating clubs from 12 to 16 in the Dafabet Welsh Premier League from season 2017/18 was put forward. 

“The notice of motion was not supported.

“The FAW Council decision was made less than a month after the annual Dafabet WPL chairmen’s meeting in Newtown where an overwhelming majority of member clubs confirmed their wish to continue with a maximum of 12 participating teams in our national league.”

See full story in the County Times

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