MID Wales football clubs remain in limbo over the start of next season.

Clubs in the JD Cymru North and JD Cymru South along with clubs in the new Ardal leagues face the prospect of not starting their seasons until next month following the latest announcement by the Football Association of Wales (FAW).

On Friday the FAW announced the JD Cymru Premier had now been classed as elite by the Welsh Government and Sport Wales and would be permitted to start the season on September 11.

Fixtures will take place behind closed doors as part of the Welsh Government’s easing of restrictions following the end of the nationwide lockdown brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

While this has meant the 12 members of the JD Cymru Premier can now plan for the start of the season it has led to frustration among clubs lower down the pyramid.

The second tier, including Guilsfield, Llanrhaeadr, Penrhyncoch and Llanfair United, have yet to receive a starting date.

Meanwhile the new third tier, the Ardal Leagues, are also awaiting confirmation on when they can plan for the new campaign.

Further down the pyramid the MMP–NL Mid Wales League West and MMP–NL Mid Wales League East have also been hampered in their preparations with no date set for the commencement of their campaign.

The JT Hughes Montgomeryshire League, Watson Financial Mid Wales League South, Cambrian Tyres League and South Cardiganshire League are also without a date to start to the season.

Meanwhile the new Mid Wales Reserve leagues and expanded North Wales Women’s League have also yet to be given the go–ahead for the new season.

Friday’s announcement has also led to the launch of a public petition on change.org.

The petition has so far been signed by more than 1,300 people and calls on the Welsh Government and FAW to give permission for pre–season friendlies to resume immediately with safety precautions, announce the start of the 2020/2021 season as soon as possible and see the importance on how football benefits the health and well being of the community.

Organiser Sharief Nassaro said: “It is ridiculous that tier one can resume the season as normal but the rest of us can not even play a friendly.

“These ‘elite athletes’ work alongside those at the very bottom of the pyramid in their day to day jobs so should not be treated any different.”

The FAW and Welsh Government have both been contacted for a response but had not replied at the time the County Times went to press on Wednesday.

However Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford defended the decision.

Responding to a question from Shadow Minister for Children and Young People, Laura Ann Jones, at the Senedd on Wednesday, Mr Drakeford insisted the ongoing restrictions on lower league football were supported by science.

He said: "When a Cymru Premier football club resumes, it has all the resources that a Cymru Premier club is able to draw.

“It has all the regulated nature of the setting in which they operate. None of that is true in some parts of football in which she referred to.

“There simply isn’t the structure there that you can rely upon in that way to be confident that the activity can be resumed in a way that does not put players, officials and the public at risk.

“When it is safe to do so then we will resume activities in that setting.

“We won’t do it before that. When it is safe we will have discussed it with that sector of course. We will draw up joint plans with them. It will not come as a surprise to them.

“The approach in Wales has been to plan first and then to announce, not to make an announcement and then wonder how it’s going to be possible to make that happen.”