THE Spar Mid Wales League faces its biggest battle in its 118 year history.
The stark warning was issued by league chairman Richie Jenkins and follows the Football Association of Wales (FAW) proposed re-structure of the national pyramid.
Among the proposals put forward by the FAW last month is the removal of the fourth tier and creation of four regional third division leagues to feed a North/Mid and South/Mid second division.
Jenkins hit out at the proposals and feared for the future of football in Mid Wales.
“Mid Wales needs to be recognised as its own region,” said Jenkins.
“We are not part of North or South Wales and I fear these proposals would devastate the sport locally.
“The proposals are meant to be represent reform but I fail to see how carving up Mid Wales among other regions will benefit clubs or the sport in the region.
“Effectively the proposals are asking our clubs to travel longer distances, whether it be to the North Wales coast and Wrexham or to Gwent and South Wales.
“Few will have the funds to pay for the increased travelling and even fewer will be able to get players to commit to travelling such distances for games.
“Instead Mid Wales clubs will effectively be unable to climb the pyramid as they are now and will be left to play in non affiliated leagues locally without access to grant aid to improve their facilities.”
Jenkins confirmed Mid Wales League clubs had met at a specially convened meeting in Llanidloes earlier this month.
“Clubs are greatly concerned at these proposals,” said Jenkins. “It appears Mid Wales has not really been thought of at all.
“Village clubs are the lifeblood of not just Mid Wales football but Welsh football as a whole and it seems as if the FAW does not want to create a pyramid which allows such clubs to be part.”
Jenkins called upon clubs to unite and fight for Mid Wales football’s future while insisting the Central Wales Football Association (CWFA) and the region’s FAW representatives had major roles to play.
“It is not just the Mid Wales League but football in Central Wales as a whole which faces the biggest battle in its history,” said Jenkins. “I've been involved with local football for 60 years and cannot recall a greater threat.
“Ultimately it is time for our FAW councillors, the area association, our leagues and clubs to unite and make sure the game in Mid Wales is protected.
“Mid Wales must be recognised with its own affiliated league in the pyramid,” said Jenkins. “Either at level three or level two like North and South Wales.
“Anything else is not acceptable.”
“We are our own region, not part of North or South Wales, and we must all play our part and fight to ensure we are treated as such.”