Wales start their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign in Belgium on March 24 and host the Czech Republic in Cardiff six days later.
But Welsh football is currently in a state of crisis with manager Ryan Giggs not attending games and chief executive Jonathan Ford leaving his position at the end of the month.
Here, the PA news agency examines the issues facing Wales just 89 days before their first game at this summer’s delayed Euro 2020 tournament.
What’s happening with Ryan Giggs?
Everything was looking rosy when Wales qualified for Euro 2020 under Giggs and were top of their Nations League group. But Giggs was then arrested on suspicion of assault on November 1 after a reported row with girlfriend Kate Greville at his Manchester home. The former Manchester United star, 47, denies the allegation and has had his bail extended until May 1, with Greater Manchester Police having passed the file to the Crown Prosecution Service.
So Giggs has not been involved with Wales since?
The FAW and Ryan Giggs have mutually agreed that he will not be involved in the upcoming international camp.— FA WALES (@FAWales) March 10, 2021
Well, he was not physically at Wales’ November games – a drawn friendly against the United States and Nations League wins over the Republic of Ireland and Finland which saw them top their group and secure promotion to the top tier of European football. But Giggs selected the squad and was in daily contact with caretaker boss Robert Page and the rest of the support staff. The same arrangement is in place for Wales’ three March games, according to Page, although the Football Association of Wales said last week Giggs would not be involved in the upcoming camp.
Will this be sorted soon?
That would appear to be in the hands of the CPS. Page says he has had no dialogue with the FAW over what happens this summer. The 46-year-old former Wales captain says those conversations need to be had “further down the road” but time is short with the start of Euro 2020 less than three months away and the practicalities involved in planning for a major tournament.
But the chief executive’s gone too?
That’s right. The FAW announced last week that Jonathan Ford would be leaving his position on March 31 after 11 years in the post. Ford lost the confidence of the FAW council following several contentious issues behind the scenes, including widespread resentment at the FAW’s failure to adequately support the grassroots game during the Covid-19 pandemic. President Kieran O’Connor is expected to take a more hands-on role before a new chief executive is appointed.
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