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Summer football anyone?

Created on 03/12/2010 @ 12:20
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It’s the suggestion that has been scoffed at most but even the diehard traditionalists have been warming to the idea of switching the football season to the summer following the early onset of winter cancellations.
Britain’s winters are becoming more aligned to those in northern Europe and with a bleak outlook, the issue of summer football has been debated across the footballing spectrum.
Mywelshpool put the question this week to the man at the head of Welsh football, Phil Pritchard, as well as a league secretary, club administrator, manager, player, referee and even a cricket captain. The reaction shows that the times, they are a-changing!
Question: Do you think it is time for Welsh football to switch to a summer format?
The Football Association of Wales President – Phil Pritchard
I don’t personally have an opinion on the debate because the decision is down to the clubs which we serve as the FAW. I don’t feel there is a big ground swell of support for summer football but if the clubs indicated they wanted to look at it then obviously we would have to consider the switch. We have made the decision to reduce the Welsh Premier to 12 clubs and feeder leagues to a maximum of 16 which will hopefully ease any potential fixture congestion.
The league official - Phil Woosnam, Secretary, Spar Mid Wales League
I’m very much in favour of giving summer football a try especially at Welsh Premier League level. I believe that if the correct facilities were put in place by the clubs such as sprinkler systems, then players would benefit from better playing surfaces and fans would also benefit by not being frozen solid in watching their favourite teams. Crowds would undoubtedly increase and I think there would be potential for a more family atmosphere.
The club administrator – Liam Pritchard, Secretary, Technogroup Welshpool
I’ve always been in favour of summer football in Wales to boost attendances as we’d not be competing with English football. Also, with the last two winters we’ve had, the benefits are obvious. It would disadvantage clubs like Welshpool who cannot use the pitch during the summer, but progress can’t be held up on account of a handful of clubs and it would force our hand to look properly at relocation.
The manager – Clive McNamee, Manager, Montgomery Town
I suppose the obvious answer is ‘Yes it’s a must’. I think it depends at what level you are at. Top and second tier clubs would probably be at an advantage playing during the summer months. Recreation football, however, may not be quite so keen. In rural areas like ours, leagues are made up mainly of village and town clubs. Lads like to play cricket in the summer months so there would have to be a decision made there. Also many of our players are from the farming community; the summer is their busiest time, so again we could lose players through work commitments. I think we should possibly be looking at reducing the leagues to 12 teams making 22 games. We play too many cup matches so a reduction in them would also help. Another option would be to have a ‘winter break’ like they do in some countries and extend the season either end.
The player – Steve Andrew, Llanfair
I think it is definitely something that needs to be done for the lower divisions of Welsh football. The pitches in our league struggle at the best of times and the winters are getting worse. Only downside is players going on holiday but maybe a mid-summer break would sort that.
The referee – Neil Bayliss
No, not in favour, from a cricket and a football point of view. I have seen some bad injuries caused by hard grounds at the Aberystwyth Summer Tournament, and that’s just kids footy. And summer football would obviously hit cricket hard. The only way it would work is if the cricket went to a Sunday as a league format, but the Shropshire leagues won’t go for that. As referee, it'll be possibly easier, but the grounds get very hard when they are baked; worse than frost. I personally prefer a wet pitch, where you don't get grass burns and suffer concussion if you land on your head!
The cricket captain and footballer – Sam Griffiths, Guilsfield
I am in favour of summer football. To combat this you could play cricket on a Saturday and football on a Sunday or vice versa. That would also stop all the cricket players returning to football before the cricket season ends as it becomes a problem for small teams. The major problem is the weather in the winter. You could easily go for two months without playing a game due to snow, frost, rain etc. Then you are playing catch up at the end of the season. Mid week games in the summer could happen every week due to the great British summer!
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