Gwynedd and Anglesey encourage schools to sing Hen Wlad fy Nhadau on ‘One Britain One Nation’ day
Gareth Williams, local democracy reporter
Councils are encouraging schools across Anglesey and Gwynedd to take part in a nationwide campaign to vocally back the national football team on Friday as it continues to represent us overseas.
With the vast majority of the ‘Red Wall’ unable to attend Wales’ Euro 2020 clashes due to Covid restrictions, the men’s national side is expected to play in front of largely opposition support when it takes on Denmark in Saturday’s Round of 16 tie.
But after the Football Association of Wales (FAW) called on school children to record themselves singing Hen Wlad fy Nhadau on Friday, both Anglesey and Gwynedd councils have joined in the campaign.
The FAW’s aim of getting pupils to sing the national anthem with pride has been described as “a subtle dig” at the planned ‘One Britain One Nation Day,’ also set to take place on Friday.
Having been mocked by some for its “totalitarian undertones,” it’s said to have been designed to “celebrate patriotism” and promote the “shared values” of British Citizenship.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has praised the song, however, with a spokesperson saying that it promoted “fundamental British values”.
The Welsh Government, however, stressed that education was a devolved matter and had not been “engaged” in the project.
A spokesman for Anglesey Council confirmed that the education department had contacted with all the island’s schools on Thursday, notifying them of the FAW’s campaign and asking them to take part if possible.
Gwynedd has also called on its schools to take part, with a spokesman adding: “As a council we send our best wishes to the Wales National Football Team ahead of their match against Denmark on Saturday.
“The council’s Head of Education has encouraged Gwynedd schools to take part in the FAW campaign on Friday. We have also shared the FAW’s message on our social media platforms and in internal staff messages.”
While England and Scotland have played all their Euro 2020 fixtures on these islands, Wales’ path has seen them play two games 3,000 miles away in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku, followed by an away tie against Italy in Rome.
The hopes of loyal travelling fans in attending Saturday’s tie in Amsterdam have also been dashed despite the likelihood that thousands of Danes will be present at the Johan Cruyff arena.
In a statement on Thursday, the health minister reiterated its message for Wales supporters to enjoy the match safely.
Eluned Morgan MS said: “The Euro 2020 tournament is taking place in the midst of the global pandemic and unfortunately, the restrictions that are in place to keep us all safe will have an impact on Welsh fans hoping to travel and follow the progress of our national team.
“Our strong advice is that the best way for all of us to show our support for Wales is to support the team from home.
“We also advise everyone – not just football fans – against travelling overseas this summer and although Wales getting to the next round of the Euros is really important- travelling there is not essential.
“This is the year to stay at home.”
The minister added: “In the case of the Netherlands, the Dutch police authorities have said they will not be letting Wales fans into the country.
“We wish Wales the best of luck and would urge fans to enjoy the football at home.”