The Welsh government has released a statement following a meeting with the football body responsible for dropping Abergavenny Women FC from the top league.

Dawn Boden, MS, said the Football Association of Wales (FAW) recognised it had failed to properly communicate how it had reached its decision on choosing which teams made the top tier and the reason for putting Abergavenny Women FC into the second tier.

The FAW acknowledged it needed to improve its communication methods.

Responding to the Welsh Government statement on the FAW restructure of the Welsh Women’s Premier League, Welsh Conservative MS for South Wales East, Laura Anne Jones MS said: “The FAW are right to recognise that the way they communicated during this restructure was inadequate, but that doesn’t help clubs such as Abergavenny Women’s FC who have been unfairly demoted because of an opaque administrative process, rather than their on-field performance.

"I’m disappointed that despite the minister’s involvement, and the allegations regarding the process that has been followed, the FAW has refused to reopen the process and I still believe that this decision will do a great deal of harm to the women’s game in Wales.

"It shouldn’t have taken a Government minister weighing in to get the FAW to promise to improve.

’’Football in Wales needs the FAW to pull their socks up and deliver on their promises to support clubs and players affected by their changes.

“I will be liaising closely with clubs in my region in South Wales East and will not hesitate to call-out the FAW if it continues to fail these women."

In a statement from the deputy minister for sport and the arts Dawn Bowden, MS, said: ’’I have now had a constructive and useful meeting with representatives of the Football Association of Wales, to discuss its proposed restructure of the Welsh Women’s Premier League.

’’The restructure is a matter for the FAW, not government, but it has been raised on the floor of the Senedd so I felt it important to speak directly with the FAW, to better understand its plans and the impact any decisions will have on our ambition to ensure more inclusive access to sport in Wales.

’’Of course, I fully support the FAW’s ambition and focus on developing and improving the women’s game in Wales.

’’However, as the FAW acknowledged in our meeting, the way proposed changes to the structure of the women’s domestic game have been communicated, particularly to the players affected, has clearly been inadequate.

’’The FAW recognises that it needs to urgently change the way it communicates with clubs and players, and also improve its communication with Members of the Senedd and the Welsh Government.

’’The FAW has given me a commitment that it will do everything it can to support the clubs and players affected by the changes, and to engage more closely and proactively with Members of the Senedd and the Welsh Government in future.

’’I look forward to the FAW delivering on that commitment.’’

Last week Monmouthshire council branded a decision by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) to to relegate Abergavenny Women’s FC to the second tier “outrageous”, and called for the move to be reviewed, writes EMILY GILL.

Abergavenny Women finished fourth in the most recent season and have been in the top tier of Welsh women’s football for nine seasons – winning the Women’s Premier League twice in that time.

But despite this they have been relegated following a restructure of women’s football in Wales.

Cllr Paul Jordan submitted a motion to full council calling for more openness from FAW regarding the relegation.

The motion reads: “The club strongly champions the development of local women’s football.

“FAW have substituted Abergavenny for Aberystwyth in tier one

“Gwent now has no representation despite being one of the most populous areas in Wales.

“This action of FAW flies in the face of fair play. Abergavenny Women FC consistently upholds the true value of sport and we call upon the Football association of Wales to do likewise.”

In the full council meeting last Thursday Cllr Jordan said the reasoning for the demotion hadn’t been properly explained.

He said: “If they did publish the review it might make sense and the football club might be prepared to accept that positioning

“Until such time as there’s scrutiny and openness the whole thing is quite outrageous and it’s not a way in which we should encourage women to become involved in sport.”

Cllr Lisa Dymock, the council’s cabinet member for community wellbeing and social justice said: “Trying to engage women in sports can be a challenging task at the best of times and the decision to relegate Abergavenny Women’s Football Club has caused a lot of disappointment and upset.”

Cllr Sheila Woodhouse said: “How this decision was reached is not clear but there are suggestions the system does not have transparency or evidence of fair play.”

Abergavenny Women have been relegated following a restructure by FAW in women’s football.

The Women’s Premier League has been reduced from nine teams to eight. There will also be eight teams each in Tier 2 North and Tier 2 South and a new under 19s league in North and South Wales.

All teams were told to submit applications to determine which league they’d be placed in. The two stage process included checking to make sure clubs met the minimum criteria and the assessment of club development plans.

FAW has said they will not be commenting further on the issue.