TWO leading North Wales football managers have called on the powers that be to act now and save the grassroots game across the country.

With clubs below JD Cymru Premier still facing an uncertain future with no confirmed start date due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions, Llangefni Town manager Chris Roberts and Holyhead Hotspur boss Darren Garmey have joined forces with Plaid Cymru Shadow Minister for Health and Finance, Rhun ap Iorwerth MS, to issue a plea to the Welsh Government and Football Association of Wales.

This centres on not only getting competitive action back underway after months of inactivity, but also outlines the need for clubs to receive necessary financial support after a substantial lack of revenue coming in since the FAW brought a halt to the previous campaign prematurely.

Mr ap Iorwerth, said: “Local football clubs are telling me that they are going to disappear without financial support. The knock-on effects will make Wales less active, less healthy and with fewer opportunities for future generations.

“A local sports team is more than the sport itself – it’s about bringing communities together, the health benefits and of course, feeding talent through to higher tiers. Without clubs progressing at the grass roots level, ultimately the national game will suffer.

“It’s important that financial support is made available to governing bodies who can then decide how best to use the money.”

Roberts highlighted the long-term impact this could have on clubs up and down the region, with the boss adding that the impact on staff, players and supporters from a mental health perspective is another notable element to this situation that should not be overlooked.

“I worry for the effect this prolonged absence from playing competitively will have on not just the physical and mental health of my players and staff, but for clubs across the country, and overall participation in physical activity as well, which is so important for our health and wellbeing, particularly at a time like this,” he said.

Garmey, who guided Holyhead to promotion back to the second tier at the first time of asking last season, stated he has already seen the impact at youth level regarding a lack of enthusiasm to get back training and playing, which is going to have a knock-on effect that will take a long time to recover from.

He added: “We need to see a clear plan of action for the return of competitive sport from Welsh Government, and that the financial support is there to enable it to happen if we can’t have supporters for now. The physical and mental wellbeing of my players and staff is taking a battering because we can’t play competitive games, and there’s no plan that we can see to allow us to return soon.

“We have a thriving junior section at the club, but even there I’ve seen how affected our players have been by months of no competitive games – young children who have lost the desire they had before lockdown to be active and stay healthy through playing sport, whether it be football or not.”