The Welsh Gull

Torquay United, the Football League and other stuff

Wales bids for 2018 and 2022 World Cups

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Just getting news that following England’s bid to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, Wales has decided to follow suit in order to try and beat the English once and for all. The Football Association of Wales has now revealed that they submitted a bid in February just before the deadline but have kept it undercover to avoid negative publicity or a lack of publicity in general. They argue that although the standard of stadia is lower than other candidate nations, such as Australia, the USA, Japan, Mexico, Indonesia, Russia, Qatar, South Korea and joint bids from Portugal and Spain and Belgium and the Netherlands, they have major plans for the stadia of Wales, including investing a “large amount of money”, reputed to be at least £5,000, into a few extra turnstiles and new bulbs for the floodlights. It also believes it will benefit from having the experience of hosting the 1999 Rugby World Cup, even if it was co-hosted with England, Scotland, Ireland and France.

The FAW has already selected its 12 host stadia, spread across 11 cities and towns across Wales, with Cardiff nominated as the city to include 2 stadia. They are:

Cardiff – Millennium Stadium – Capacity: 74,500
The biggest stadium in Wales by far, it is the centrepiece of the bid. It will host the Final if Wales is selected, completing a unique double of hosting the Football and Rugby World Cup finals, having hosted the RWC final in 1999 shortly after opening

Cardiff – Cardiff City Stadium – Capacity: 27,000
Cardiff’s newest stadium will host its first game on July 22nd and is thus a natural choice for the bid. It is now the 2nd largest stadium in Wales and will play an integral role in the later rounds of the competition

Swansea – Liberty Stadium – Capacity: 20,532
Swansea City’s ground, known as the Swansea Stadium for World Cup purposes due to the sponsorship ban, will also host some of the later matches. It opened in 2005 and is the 3rd largest stadium in Wales

Wrexham – Racecourse Ground – Capacity: 15,500
The only stadium in the county of Clwyd in the north-east Wales is the home of Blue Square Premier team Wrexham, and is the oldest international stadium currently in use. It has hosted Wales internationals and group matches in the 1999 RWC

Newport – Rodney Parade – Capacity: 15,000+
The home of the Newport Gwent Dragons rugby union side is set to be renovated by the beginning of the 2010 rugby season, with planning permission now accepted. The stadium has previously hosted cricket, tennis and athletics, but the newly renovated ground will be designed with football and the World Cup in mind

Llanelli – Parc y Scarlets – Capacity: 14,870
A brand new stadium in the steel town that is the home of the Llanelli Scarlets rugby union team. It held it first rugby match in November last year and also has never hosted a football game before, but the FAW are confident it will be a fine host. Local side Llanelli AFC are said to be “disappointed” that their ground, Stebonheath Park, was not selected due to capacity issues

Bridgend – Brewery Field – Capacity: 12,000
The home of rugby league Super League side Celtic Crusaders and rugby union team Bridgend Ravens is nominated as a host stadium for now, but plans are in the works for a new 15,000 seater stadium that would be the home of both plus the exiled Bridgend Town football side. This new stadium had previously been suggested for the cancelled joint Scottish/Welsh bid for Euro 2016

Cwmbran – Cwmbran Stadium – Capacity: 10,500
This modern multi-sports facility is located in the new town of Cwmbran, giving the Gwent area its 2nd stadium after Newport’s. It is the home of Welsh First Division side Cwmbran Town and has previously hosted their UEFA Cup matches.

Merthyr Tydfil – Penydarren Park – Capacity: 10,000
The home of Southern League Premier side Merthyr Tydfil FC, Penydarren Park was the host of its team’s famous Cup Winner’s Cup defeat of Italian side Atalanta in 1987. The glory days have gone now, however, and the club is in financial trouble. It is hoped the selection of its ground as host will boost the club’s finances considerably

Pontypridd – Sardis Road – Capacity: 7,861
This famous rugby union ground is known as the “House of Pain” and is expected to be just that as it hosts World Cup group games. It is a relatively modern ground, opening in 1974, and it also hosted a match in the 1991 Rugby World Cup which Wales co-hosted with England

Barry – Jenner Park – Capacity: 6,000
Barry Town’s exploits are well-documented in Welsh football due to their domination of the League of Wales in the 1990s. But the club later collapsed, nearly going out of business, and the stadium has seen few big crowds in recent years. Despite this, it’s a good candidate due to its track record of hosting European club matches and Welsh cup finals

Ferndale – Darran Park – Capacity: 1,000
The small town of Ferndale is located in the heart of the valleys in the Rhondda Fach valley. Although it isn’t the home of any major team, it has been considered a candidate in order to take the World Cup to the masses, and because it would become the first stadium with an artificial pitch to host a modern World Cup match. It is hoped the toilets and grandstand will be cleaned of all the drugs needles and used condoms by 2018

Reserve stadia:

Neath – The Gnoll – Capacity: 6,000
Home of Neath RFC, has hosted some football matches

Aberystwyth – Park Avenue – Capacity: 5,500
Home of League of Wales side Aberystwyth Town FC

Chester – Deva Stadium – Capacity: 5,328
Home of former Football League club Chester City FC (OK, so it’s not totally in Wales, but a corner of it is)

The winner of the bidding process will be announced in December 2010, with the FAW confident that it will win. A spokesperson has said “This is the only bid that will take football to the masses and away from the prawn sandwich eaters. The FAW intends to bring back atmosphere to the World Cup, including singing, celebration and hooliganism”. We shall soon see if it comes off…


Written by James Bennett

June 7, 2009 at 00:14

Posted in Football

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