Fears opportunity to market Wales will be swallowed by ‘Great Britain’ campaign at Qatar World Cup
Plaid Cymru have raised fears that opportunities to market Wales at the Qatar World Cup would be swallowed by a ‘Great Britain’ campaign.
Sports spokesperson Heledd Fychan MS said that the Welsh Government had shown a lack of leadership and had no overall strategy to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the Wales men’s football team qualifying for the event.
She also noted a “worrying” reference by the Welsh Government to taking part in the UK Government’s union flag branded campaign GREAT at Qatar.
Ms Fychan said that would “go against everything that the Football Association of Wales has done in developing awareness about out distinct identity as a nation” and said it would be “unforgivable” if Welsh Government let this opportunity pass Wales by.
“The Wales Men’s Team’s attendance at the Football World Cup presents a clear opportunity to showcase the Wales brand on a world stage,” she said.
“We only had five months between qualification and the first match, but as Laura McAllister has said, our small size as a nation should be ‘an asset’ in the current context.
“It’s therefore greatly concerning that no objectives have yet been set for ‘Team Cymru’ – in fact, we’ve only just found out who’s leading from Welsh Government one month on – and there’s only four months left until the team reach Qatar!
“Even more worrying is the reference to the ‘opportunity’ that the Welsh Government sees in the ‘GREAT’ campaign – a solely union flag branded campaign that makes little or no mention of Wales as a separate nation.
“When it comes to the World Cup, it’s imperative that Wales shouldn’t blend into a combined UK brand. Football presents the perfect opportunity promote our unique Cymru brand – it would be unforgivable to let this opportunity slip through our hands.”
Answering questions on the topic last week, however, Vaughan Gething said that work had only recently begun on promoting Wales at the World Cup because Wales had only recently qualified.
“The FAW, in particular, were keen not to be visibly acting as if we’d already qualified before we had,” he said.
“The GREAT campaign that you mention is both an opportunity and a risk. I would want to see UK Government funds benefitting Wales as they’re spent, and the GREAT campaign can’t be simply England in another name.
“England have qualified in their own right, and I look forward to being there to see Wales beat them at the end of our group phase, but we have to be clear that the GREAT campaign is supposed to be about all the constituent parts of Britain, and so that’s one of our challenges.
“We’re really clear that we don’t want to get drawn into something that subsumes our identity, and the projection and the opportunity that this presents, into a wider campaign that doesn’t meet our own objectives.”
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