Call for FAW to publish review on ‘outrageous’ decision to relegate women’s football team
Emily Gill, local democracy reporter
Monmouthshire council has branded a decision by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) to relegate Abergavenny Women’s FC to the second tier “outrageous”, and called for the move to be reviewed.
Abergavenny Women finished fourth in the most recent season and have been in the top tier of Welsh women’s football for nine seasons – winning the Women’s Premier League twice in that time.
But despite this they have been relegated following a restructure of women’s football in Wales.
Cllr Paul Jordan submitted a motion to full council calling for more openness from FAW regarding the relegation.
The motion reads: “The club strongly champions the development of local women’s football.
“FAW have substituted Abergavenny for Aberystwyth in tier one who did not win one match last season.
“Gwent now has no representation despite being one of the most populous areas in Wales.
“This action of FAW flies in the face of fair play. Abergavenny Women FC consistently upholds the true value of sport and we call upon the Football association of Wales to do likewise.”
In the meeting Cllr Jordan said the reasoning for the demotion hadn’t been properly explained.
He said: “If they did publish the review it might make sense and the football club might be prepared to accept that positioning
“Until such time as there’s scrutiny and openness the whole thing is quite outrageous and it’s not a way in which we should encourage women to become involved in sport.”
Cllr Lisa Dymock, the council’s cabinet member for community wellbeing and social justice said: “Trying to engage women in sports can be a challenging task at the best of times and the decision to relegate Abergavenny Women’s Football Club has caused a lot of disappointment and upset.”
Cllr Sheila Woodhouse said: “How this decision was reached is not clear but there are suggestions the system does not have transparency or evidence of fair play.”
Abergavenny Women have been relegated following a restructure by FAW in women’s football.
The Women’s Premier League has been reduced from nine teams to eight. There will also be eight teams each in Tier 2 North and Tier 2 South and a new under 19s league in North and South Wales.
All teams were told to submit applications to determine which league they’d be placed in. The two stage process included checking to make sure clubs met the minimum criteria and the assessment of club development plans.
FAW has said they will not be commenting further on the issue.