The following Press release was issued by Mick Antoniw, the Assembly Member for Pontypridd
Mick Antoniw, Assembly Member for Pontypridd has gained Welsh Government involvement in his aim to help Supporters Direct Cymru get off the ground in Wales.
Mick Antoniw, who chairs the All Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals, recently hosted an event at the Assembly to identify how community ownership of sport can be extended and made more accessible.
The event was addressed by representatives from Supporters Direct, who already work in Wales by virtue of supporters’ trusts established by clubs in the English football pyramid, and have already spent time with groups involved in Llanelli AFC and Pontypridd, and have met with the WRU and Sports Wales.
Supporters Direct’s successes, such as their role in helping to rescue Merthyr Town FC, convinced Mick Antoniw of the merit of setting up Supporters Direct establishing themselves independently in Wales. He raised the issue with Culture and Sport Minister John Griffiths, who readily agreed to get involved.
“I’m really pleased to have had such an enthusiastic response from the Minister,” Mick Antoniw said. “It shows the Welsh Government is serious about promoting sport in Wales and has the confidence in people on the ground to take a leading role in the clubs and sports facilities that are often at the centre of their community.”
“There’s been a growing interest across Wales in community ownership generally and I firmly believe that establishing Supporters Direct Cymru will help put sport back at the heart of our communities.”
Head of England and Wales for Supporters Direct, Daniel Rose, said, “Political backing is extremely important in moving this sort of ambitious project forward. I am hugely encouraged by the Welsh Government’s willingness to get involved. My colleagues and I are looking forward to meeting with the Minister very soon.”
Tim Hartley, chair of Cardiff City Supporters Trust said, “This is a really exciting development. Wales has been an enthusiastic proponent of supporters’ trusts already, but we currently have no way of extending that into other areas that need it. A Supporters Direct Cymru will help us to reach more communities, more effectively.”