Abergavenny WFC eye speedy return to the top flight after ground improvements boost
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
A football club’s hopes of returning to the top tier of women’s football in Wales have been boosted after funding was awarded to upgrade its ground.
Abergavenny Town Women’s FC was controversially demoted from the Welsh Women’s Premier League following a restructure by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) in the summer.
The club is now bidding to win promotion back to the top tier – but if it is to be successful it will need to meet ground criteria set out by the FAW.
Funding of £32,866 has been awarded for the club to upgrade its floodlighting at the Pen-y-Pound Stadium in Abergavenny.
The upgrade, which is hoped to be completed by November, could allow the team to win back promotion from the Ardan League South which it is competing in this season.
Stuart Summers, the club’s secretary, said they were “absolutely thrilled” by the news.
“We have had a difficult summer after being demoted, so to receive this news is a real shot in the arm,” he said.
“The floodlights will give us the option of playing mid-week games which we have never had before.
“It’s a big step towards getting our tier one status back, providing we are able to win the league.”
The upgrade of the floodlights to LED lighting will also enable the club’s under-19 side to play on a Friday evening at the ground, and the under-16 team to play mid-week.
Currently the under-19 team have to travel to Abertillery to play games at the leisure centre.
Mr Summers said there would be benefits for all of the community who use the ground.
“LED lighting will be more eco-friendly and it will bring a 35 per cent saving on electricity,” he added.
“It’s better for the local community and for the team, giving us 25 years worth of floodlighting.”
The upgrade is being funded by a grant of £27,800 from the Welsh Ground Improvements Fund – a joint venture run between the FAW and Welsh Football Trust – and a contribution of £5,066 from Monmouthshire County Council.
Mr Summers said the funding award is positive news for women’s football.
“This is the first time in Welsh football that a women’s side has been awarded a grant to upgrade its floodlighting,” he said.
“It’s a massive boost for women’s football, certainly in Abergavenny and Monmouthshire.”
A decision to award its contribution was signed off by Monmouthshire council on Wednesday.