The Football Association of Wales has set out its six-year plan to increase participation and improve grassroots facilities with the aim of becoming a leading football nation on the world stage.

The ‘Our Wales’ strategy was launched in Cardiff today by new FAW chief executive Noel Mooney, who said that “without good grassroots facilities, we simply can’t reach our full potential”.

Mooney added that Wales needs a new and improved grassroots infrastructure to make sure there are clear pathways into the national teams for stars of the future.

‘Our Wales’, the governing body’s strategic plan for 2021-2026, aims to ensure that football continues its rapid growth in terms of inclusivity, accessibility and success on and off the field.

The FAW wants to increase the number of registered players from 90,000 to 120,000, double the size of the women’s and girls’ game and ensure facilities are developed in line with these targets.

Since the FAW launched its last strategy in 2015, the men's team has reached the knockout stages of two major tournaments, while the women are joint top of their World Cup qualifying group.

Domestic leagues, the Genero Adran Leagues and JD Cymru Leagues, have also been restructured to make them more competitive.

The FAW says it is focused on ensuring future generations can carry on the legacy of stars like Gareth Bale and Jess Fishlock, but facilities are needed to meet the increasing demand.

Mooney said: “There’s so much support in Wales for football, and now is the moment to align our resources to become one of the world’s great footballing nations.

“We are striving for excellence both on and off the field, where Welsh football and the FAW are synonymous with high performance.

“We have identified six strategic pillars and we will deliver these with our partners to create a happier, healthier and successful Wales.

“Despite the great love for football in Wales, it is clearly not reflected in our grassroots facilities, which need to be improved, and the FAW, along with our partners, will need to demonstrate leadership and courage to reach the standards we require.”

Mooney, who began his role last month, said his time in Wales has cemented his belief that it is a football nation, but greater investment in infrastructure is needed to reflect the strength of support.

FAW president Steve Williams highlighted the importance of partnerships, adding: “We’ve got the vision, but we can’t go it alone.

“Our strategy is called ‘Our Wales’, and means we need partners like Welsh Government, Sport Wales, local authorities, and businesses to work together to help usher in an era of Wales as a leading football nation.

“Wales, like anywhere, is on the road to recovery from coronavirus. If we are to build back better, then people’s health and wellbeing is very much part of that, and that includes making sure anyone is able to take part in our nation’s favourite sport in their local area as well as nationally.”

The female game offers the biggest area of growth in Welsh football and the FAW are prioritising this.

In aiming to double the size of the women’s and girls’ game, the FAW hopes to address the gender participation imbalance, particularly at grassroots level.

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