Football Association of Wales to consider working in Welsh

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Thu Dec 14 13:56:02 UTC 2006

FAW to consider working in Welsh

Wales football's governing body is to draw up a Welsh-language policy
after a row with Welsh-speaking members.  The Football Association of
Wales (FAW) Council is pressing for a change so Welsh has parity in the
association's business dealings. It follows a campaign by a Caernarfon
league official who was told the FAW "conducts it business in English".
The FAW said its secretary general David Collins was unavailable for
comment on the matter on Saturday. But Welsh Sports Minister Alun Pugh
welcomed the proposal, calling for a Welsh-language scheme policy
announcement by the FAW.

Mr Pugh said: "In correspondence and in meetings with the FAW, I have said
that the national governing bodies for sport should deal with the two
languages of Wales on the basis of equality.  "The assembly government is
prepared to assist voluntary bodies via our language board, and I will be
asking the board staff to contact the FAW on Monday with an offer of
expert help. "For example, it's not reasonable to expect every volunteer
ref in Wales to speak both languages, but it's perfectly reasonable to ask
the FAW to reply in Welsh to official letters written in Welsh" An initial
step in the policy change will mean that people writing to the FAW in
Welsh will receive replies in the same language, and the body will also
look into the possibility of holding disciplinary hearings in Welsh.

The issues were raised at a meeting of the 27-strong FAW council on
Thursday, and will be ratified at the next meeting in July. The language
row first flared up last September when Caernarfon and District League
secretary John Pritchard was told by the FAW it would only deal with a
dispute he was involved in in English. Mr Pritchard said he was
"delighted" a change on the language policy was being considered.


"But it's terrible really that it has taken such a challenge for them to
change their minds, " he said. His campaign on the issue started six
months ago. Mr Pritchard's league fell foul of FAW rules about how many
teams a player could sign for. Caernarfon originally lost their case, but
won on appeal. "They refused us any correspondence in Welsh. We had to go
and defend ourselves in English in a case which we subsequently won. "Once
we had dealt with that issue we turned to the language one," said Mr
Pritchard, adding it was "ironic" that that had begun on St David's Day.

World Cup

"A lot of people who don't deal with the FAW would be unaware that they do
not communicate in Welsh. "Now for the first time in its 130-year history
the FAW are communicating in Welsh. An FAW spokesman said he was unable to
confirm what had taken place at the council meeting on Thursday. He said
Mr Collins was already in Germany for a month of World Cup duties and any
official statement on the language issue would follow next week.

Story from BBC NEWS:


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