Football Association of Wales to consider working in Welsh

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Sun Jun 4 12:52:39 UTC 2006

Story from BBC NEWS:

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 he 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. "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.

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