FOOTBALL clubs across the country hoping for some positive news regarding a return to training were left disappointed by the Welsh Government’s announcement on Friday.

First Minister Mark Drakeford did confirm that Sport Wales will be “looking into” ways of getting those with “elite athlete” status back training and playing at the earliest possible opportunity, but with Tier 4 measures still in place, the proposed resumption of JD Cymru Premier and the Orchard Welsh Women’s Premier League on March 5 now appears highly unlikely.

The next review date of March 13 also puts into question the proposed start of JD Cymru North and South campaigns on the March 20 date, with another delay set to cause some significant problems to players who are also juggling work commitments on top of their playing duties.

Second-tier outfit Conwy Borough claimed there was “limited scope” for the governing body to return to elite athlete protocols due to the current restrictions, but chairman Chris Wilton also praised the Football Association of Wales for their recent communication.

He said: “The current situation is extremely frustrating for everyone concerned. Unfortunately, this is an incredibly difficult time and although communication from the Football Association of Wales has been pretty good the matter is out of their hands due to the current Covid legislation and the revocation of elite status for Tier 2 clubs.

“Whenever football gets the green light the club will be raring to go. Everyone at the club remains hopeful of positive news but as each day goes by the logistics of starting and completing the season seem to become more difficult.”

Teams who are classed as “professional” under the FAW banner have continued to train as this is a method of employment for players, with Bangor City the only Tier 2 club to be working in this manner.

This could give them a huge advantage when competitive action begins next month, with other teams in the division facing a race against time to get their squads up to speed.