Ardal Leagues
Founded2020
Country Wales
Divisions2
Number of teams64
Level on pyramid3
Promotion to
Relegation toMid Wales Football League
North East Wales Football League
North Wales Coast East Football League
North Wales Coast West Football League
Gwent County League
South Wales Alliance League
West Wales Premier League
Domestic cup(s)Ardal North Cup
Ardal South Cup
Current championsChirk AAA (NE)
Mold Alexandra (NW)
Abergavenny Town (SE)
Pontardawe Town (SW)

The Ardal Leagues[1] are a football league in Wales. The word "ardal" translates as "district" in English, with Wales split into four regions at this level. They have clubs with amateur/semi-professional status and sit at the third level of the Welsh football league system. The first year of their operation would have been 2020–21 but the 2020–21 Ardal North East season, 2020–21 Ardal North West season, 2020–21 Ardal South East season and 2020–21 Ardal South West season were all cancelled.[2] The inaugural season was moved to 2021–22. The creation of the leagues mark the first time the Football Association of Wales owns and is administering tier 3 of the Welsh league system. These changes follow from a review of the Welsh football pyramid.[3] To be eligible clubs need to meet the criteria for FAW tier 3 certification.

The league is split into two leagues, covering North and South Wales. Both Northern and Southern leagues have two regionally-based sections of sixteen clubs each:

The winners of each league are promoted to either the Cymru North or the Cymru South as long as they meet the FAW's tier 2 certification criteria. Subject to also meeting these criteria, the four runners-up clubs enter play-off matches with two of the clubs also gaining promotion[4] (one from the north and one from the south).

The Ardal Leagues structure replaced the former tier 3 leagues: Welsh Football League Division One, Mid Wales Football League Division One, Welsh Alliance League Division One and the Welsh National League Premier Division, leagues based in South Wales, Mid Wales, North West Wales and North East Wales respectively.

Relegation from the Ardal Leagues is to six local tier 4 leagues, with three clubs relegated from each of the tier 3 leagues at the end of the season. The tier 4 leagues are run by each of the Area Associations of Welsh football, the West Wales Football Association, the South Wales Football Association, the Gwent County Football Association, the Central Wales Football Association, the North East Wales Football Association and the North Wales Coast Football Association.

Ardal League teams

On 10 July 2020 the FAW confirmed the 64 teams in the new tier 3 leagues.[5] In an attempt to avoid dividing the current Mid-Wales teams across all four leagues, the North-East league contains a large contingent of the Mid-Wales teams. The North-West league contains the sides near the North Wales coast. After confirmation of their inclusion STM Sports announced on 27 July that they had folded, leaving only 15 sides in the South West league. On 3 August it was confirmed that Cardiff Draconians had been promoted from the South Wales Alliance League to fill the remaining place in the league.[6]
Since COVID-19-originated restrictions were put in place by the FAW, as from 10 August, clubs could have trained in groups of 15 and contact training would have been allowed at all-levels of football. However, competitive and exhibition matches were still not allowed to take place.[7] Consequently, the FAW decided to cancel what was to be the Ardal Leagues' inaugural 2020–21 season on 4 February 2021,[2] and on 26 March, Montgomery Town withdrew from the North East league for pandemic-related reasons.[8] They were replaced by Cardiff Draconians, as the highest placed team from the Alliance League who had been awarded a licence.[9]

2022–23 season[edit]

The following clubs are league members for the 2022–23 season.[10]

Applicants for FAW Tier 3 Certification

For the 2020–21 season 93 clubs applied for FAW tier 3 Certification.[12] 84 clubs were successful in their applications.[13]

See also

References

  1. ^ "ARDAL LEAGUES COMPLETE DOMESTIC PYRAMID RESTRUCTURE". Football Association of Wales. 28 July 2020. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  2. ^ a b Jones, Jordan (4 February 2021). "Football season cancelled for many in Wales after FAW meeting". Y Clwb Pêl-Droed. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  3. ^ "The Pyramid Review". Football Association of Wales. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  4. ^ Llyr, Owain. "Welsh football: Leagues restructure confirmed by FAW". BBC Sport. Retrieved 30 July 2020.
  5. ^ "Membership of Tier 3 leagues confirmed". Football Association of Wales. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  6. ^ Jones, Jordan. "Cardiff Draconians admitted to Ardal Leagues". Y Clwb Pel-Droed. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  7. ^ "FAW News". Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Montgomery Town have withdrawn from the Ardal Leagues". Y Clwb Pêl-Droed. 26 March 2021. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  9. ^ Jones, Jordan. "Cardiff Draconians admitted to Ardal Leagues". Y Clwb Pel-Droed. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  10. ^ "Ardal Leagues: A geographical look at the teams competing in the 2022/23 season". Y Clwb Pel-Droed. 9 June 2022. Retrieved 10 June 2022.
  11. ^ "Granted FAW Tier 3 Certification for 2020 / 21 season" (PDF). Football Association of Wales. 25 June 2020. Retrieved 1 July 2020.
  12. ^ "FAW TIER 2 & TIER 3 APPLICANTS CONFIRMED". Football Association of Wales. 10 January 2020. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  13. ^ Jones, Jordan (8 July 2020). "Seven clubs granted Tier Three Certificate on appeal". Y Clwb Pel-Droed. Retrieved 30 July 2020.