Formed as the League of Wales in 1992, the Welsh Premier League is the first and only football league (and that's football as in association football or soccer if you prefer, to avoid any confusion) for teams across the whole of Wales and represents an attempt by the Football Association of Wales or FAW to create a National Football League just like all other proper footballing nations.

As the FAW is a member of UEFA, the League of Wales Champions get to play in the UEFA Champions League (well the preliminary qualifying rounds at least), the runners-up get a place in the UEFA Cup and the third placed club get the delights of the Intertoto Cup.

Note that the three professional Welsh football clubs (Cardiff City, Swansea City and Wrexham AFC) all play in the English Football League and many other leading Welsh semi-professional clubs (such as Merthyr Tydfil, Newport AFC, Caernarfon Town and Colwyn Bay have opted for the English feeder leagues. (In the latter case much to the disgust of the FAW who have tried (unsuccessfully so far) to strong arm the clubs into 'their' league.) Although just to even things out a little, Oswestry despite being firmly located in Shropshire, plays in the League of Wales, and indeed has always played its football in Wales.


Money in the Welsh Premier League

There is not a great deal of money in the Welsh Premier League; as noted above all the 'big' Welsh clubs play in English leagues, crowds are small (measured in the hundreds) and media exposure somewhat scant, even in Wales.

Hence the tendency of teams to sell seek commercial sponsorship and why the tiny village of Llansantffraid is such a power in the league by virtue of its location near the head office of a computer network business and why its team plays under the engaging name of Total Network Solutions. (And the reason why teams often confusingly change their names, as in Cefn Druids, known as 'Flexsys Cefn Druids' for a time, but now called 'NEWI Cefn Druids'.)

This often gives rise to a cycle of boom and bust, where clubs ride high on a tide of sponsorship cash only to crash and burn when the tap is turned off. Inter Cardiff were once one of the leading teams in the league,(and even changed their name to Inter Cabletel to please their sponsors), went bust when the sponsorship money dried up and were promptly relegated. The most recent casualty of this phenomenon were Barry Town, who after dominating the league for eight seasons ran out of money, went into administration, and were relegated.

Some are hoping that this may well now change given that the FAW have recently sold the television rights to show all Welsh international games for the next four years, together with the rights to the Welsh Premier and Welsh Cup, to Sky for the reported sum of £10 million.


Welsh Premier League Champions

The Welsh Premier League comprised the following eighteen teams for the 2003/2004 season;

Barry Town were relegated and will be replaced by Airbus UK for the 2004-2005 season.

See the League of Wales official website at http://www.low.org.uk/
see also the unofficial websites at
http://www.welsh-premier.com/index.php
http://www.welsh-premier.co.uk/

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