THE Football Association of Wales needs to act now to try and save the grassroots game in the region from complete collapse.

With clubs below the “elite” JD Cymru Premier still left in relative limbo, this situation has only been made worse by the local lockdown measures introduced by the Welsh Government to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

However, when one considers that all levels of the English system are playing their respective leagues, even with fans in attendance in some cases, it seems unfathomable that similar protocols cannot be put in place across Wales to sustain the game’s future.

This is already having a detrimental impact on clubs who were already on the brink following the early cancellation of the previous campaign. A few have already gone to the wall and this is a trend that might continue going forward if a formal decision on whether the season can start is made.

Friendlies are set to begin later this month, but what chance is there of that happening when players and coaching staff cannot come together if they live in a different county? There does not seem to be much in the way of hope and it will be up to the FAW to learn lessons from their suspect handling of the first lockdown in other to bring some much-needed stability.

It is clear that their pursuit of bringing in revenue has been their top priority, that is why their attention has been focused on the JD Cymru Premier, but the way they dangled a carrot regarding a possible resume date during the previous season before bringing it to a halt cannot happen this time around.

Here are some big factors that clubs are currently dealing with that could have significant long-term repercussions.

Players and coaches losing interest

There will come a time when players and coaches will begin to lose interest in training for a season that might not even take place. Why waste your time on a Saturday when you can earn extra money working or spending more quality time with family?

This is already something that is becoming prevalent in lower league players, which makes one question whether this lack of desire is going to become a long-term thing once people get adjusted to their new routines.

Players moving to the English system

We are already seeing JD Cymru Premier sides bulking up their squad with players from Tier 2 or below, and there are some who are even moving to the English system just to get some football.

One cannot blame them for this. Football is a release from day-to-day life and vital for some in terms of improving mental health and wellbeing. Getting playing time in elsewhere is better than not having it at all, but there is every chance this is going to have a long-term impact on the overall standard of the grassroots game in Wales if things don’t return to some semblance of normal sooner rather than later.

Lack of sponsorship

There is also the financial aspect to consider regarding the local lockdown and a lack of clarity regarding a season start date. Clubs have already paid their fees to the FAW and are having plenty of trouble getting sponsorship together from businesses who are feeling the pinch from an economy that has collapsed since the first nationwide lockdown was implemented in March.

A lack of revenue in terms of gate receipts is another strong element to this equation that shouldn’t be overlooked and the longer it continues, the more football clubs will be at risk.