FAW disappointed at potential Wales-Wrexham play-off clash

Dragons fans could face a club-versus-country dilemma on June 5.

By Press Association Published: 25 April 2022 - 8.13pm

The Football Association of Wales and Wrexham have expressed disappointment that a potential National League play-off final would clash with Wales’ World Cup decider against Scotland or Ukraine.

The Vanarama National League has announced their play-off final will kick off at the London Stadium at 3pm on Saturday, June 5 – just two hours before Wales’ attempt to reach their first World Cup since 1958 is scheduled to get under way in Cardiff.

Wrexham are currently second in the National League and likely to be involved in the end-of-season play-offs.

Noel Mooney
FAW chief executive Noel Mooney has expressed disappointment that no resolution has been found to move the National League play-off final from June 5 (Brian Lawless/PA)

FAW chief executive Noel Mooney said: “The FAW wrote to Wrexham FC, the FA and UEFA to encourage moving the National League play-off final on Sunday 5th June.

“The FAW are disappointed that a resolution has not been found and would like to wish Wrexham the best of luck in their bid for promotion.”

Welsh Government minister Lesley Griffiths, who represents Wrexham in the Welsh Senedd, has written to National League chairman Jack Pearce calling for the June 5 date to be changed should Wrexham play in the final.

The Dragons, who are co-owned by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, are currently second in the National League, seven points behind leaders Stockport with five games remaining.

Wrexham Press Conference – Racecourse Ground
Wrexham are co-owned by Hollywood actors Rob McElhenney, left, and Ryan Reynolds (Peter Byrne/PA)

Only the champions are automatically promoted into the English Football League, with the next six teams contesting the play-offs.

Griffiths wrote on her personal Twitter account: “Obviously no guarantee @Wrexham_AFC will be involved but still disappointed by today’s announcement that the London Stadium will host the National League play-off final.

“I struggle to see how it can be the “perfect fit” for fans and I look forward to receiving a response.”

Underneath the tweet, she posted a copy of her letter sent to Pearce: “You may be aware Wrexham AFC is currently in second place in the National League. It is possible, therefore, they may reach the play-off final due to be played on Sunday, 5 June 2022.

“Also on that date, for the first time since 1958, our national side are due to play for a place in the World Cup finals to be played later this year.

“I have been contacted by several consitituents who are requesting the play-off final is moved if Wrexham do reach this and I would be grateful if you could give this your consideration.

“In addition, several constituents have pointed out that currently all six clubs in the play-off positions are northern clubs.

“As Wembley is not available, would you consider choosing a more northern venue than West Ham’s ground?”

Wrexham are currently joined in the play-off positions by Halifax, Solihull Moors, Chesterfield, Grimsby and Notts County.

Welcoming the selection of the London Stadium as the venue for their season finale, Vanarama League general manager Mark Ives said: “It is a fantastic sporting arena with a rich history and very befitting of our showpiece promotion final.

Wales v Austria – FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifier – Semi Final – Cardiff City Stadium
Gareth Bale’s Wales are due to play Scotland or Ukraine on June 5 for a place at the 2022 World Cup (Nick Potts/PA)

“Whilst we don’t know who will get to the promotion final yet, what we can now promise is a stadium worthy of hosting such a huge game.”

Later on Monday, Wrexham issued a statement of their own, noting that the FAW’s hands were tied.

“The club, like the FAW had asked that every effort be made to see if a clash with Wales’ World Cup qualifier against Scotland or Ukraine could be avoided. While the kick-off times are different, the reality is that fans will have to make a choice between which of the games they want to watch live, in person,” they said.

“We are aware that the representations were taken seriously, and the decision taken by the National League was simply down to the lack of any alternative date or stadium to host the game.

“The date for the National League play-off game was announced at the start of the season and it couldn’t have been envisaged that a World Cup play-off game would need to be scheduled on the same day.

“The disappointment of the potential clash is shared by everyone, and should the Club compete in the National League Play-Off Final, we hope that it becomes a momentous and memorable day for football in Wales.”

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