Bala Town Football Club are set to become the latest club in the Dafabet Welsh Premier League to play on a 3G synthetic pitch. The Lakesiders have been successful in applying for a grant from the Football Association of Wales, through the Governing Body’s Project 3G.
The majority of the total project cost is being funded by a grant of £350,000 from the Football Association of Wales, through its Project 3G investment programme which is funded via the UEFA Hat-Trick programme. There has also been funding assistance agreed by Gwynedd Council in close conjunction with their Education department to ensure that this project could get the green light.
It is planned that work to lay the new state-of-the-art 3G surface at Maes Tegid will begin in the close season, with completion due before the club embarks on their next season in top-flight football.
In addition to the new pitch, the floodlights at the stadium will be upgraded to allow for use of a low-level community lighting setting.
Bala Town Chief Executive Officer Nigel Aykroyd, said: “The Football Club aims to work in partnership with Gwynedd Education through all the schools in the surrounding area to encourage a significant rise in physical activity by providing this state of the art playing surface.
“The Club’s intentions are to make Maes Tegid a hub for community activity; stimulate collaboration with local partners and other users, deliver wider economic regeneration, social inclusion, and extensive health and social benefits for the community.
“In addition, the pitch will be used extensively by our Academy at all ages from 8 – 19 year age groups and by Bala Juniors FC who are always struggling to find suitable pitches for their matches. The facility will also be available for hire to other football and sports clubs in the area.
“We suffer more than most in the Welsh Premier with match postponements each season due to the area’s exceptionally high rainfall levels. We hope that this will become a thing of the past and that the loss of high profile televised matches on S4C’s Sgorio will not be repeated.
“This is a giant step forward for football and the community and I would like to thank the FAW, UEFA, and Gwynedd Council for their support in making this dream a reality.”
Gareth Thomas, Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We are extremely pleased that work is progressing well on the exciting 3G pitch for Bala. As a Council, we look forward to working with the football club and the local community on this innovative scheme, which would see the development of an important community facility.
“The pitch will be used by local schoolchildren during school hours as well as benefiting the wider community. Along with the £10 million investment to establish a modern learning campus for pupils aged 3-19 in the town, as well as a revamped library and community cinema, the 3G pitch will form part of important additional community services for Y Bala and the surrounding area.”
FAW President David Griffiths added: “I am delighted to confirm on behalf of the FAW that another UEFA Hat-Trick 3G project will be developed at the home of Bala Town.
“This substantial investment from the FAW will help develop a fantastic facility at the club, where the senior team, the flourishing academy and indeed the whole of Meirionydd will be proud of the new 3G pitch that will enhance playing surface standards and will offer a focal point for the wider community, no matter how much rainfall the town experiences in years to come.”
Chris Coleman, Wales National Team Manager, also commented: “When you think of the awful weather the country has experienced in recent months, the 3G facility allows players of all ages and abilities to enjoy the game of football throughout the year. The FAW, Bala Town and its partners in this initiative deserve huge credit.”