The Football Association of Wales (FAW) is creating a Football Centre of Excellence at the four-star Vale Resort in south Wales.
Welsh football’s governing body is developing a new state-of-the art training centre and moving its headquarters from Vanguard Way, Cardiff, to the resort, which has long held a reputation as being an elite sporting venue.
FAW will be taking over the 1,800 sq m Vale Pavilion, which used to be home to the Cardiff Blues regional rugby franchise. The new Centre of Excellence will include a fitness zone, medical rooms, changing facilities, player lounges, in addition to meeting rooms.
On the resort complex, the FAW will have access to two full-size ‘Desso’ grass-hybrid training pitches, similar to that laid at the Cardiff City Stadium, together with a further two half pitches. Work has already started on converting the second full-size pitch into a Desso pitch.
Cardiff City Football Club, currently based at the Vale Pavilion, will remain as a tenant and continue to train at the Vale Resort.
Work is starting on site this month and will take eight months to complete. It is hoped that FAW will move into the Vale Pavilion by summer 2020.
Stephen Leeke, managing director of the Vale Resort, said:
“We are absolutely delighted to have become the official training base of the Football Association of Wales and look forward to creating an environment that will help support the elite team in the best way possible.
“Ever since we opened, we have worked hard at creating a sporting centre of excellence with cutting-edge facilities that would suit professionals at the top of their game.
“Our hard work has paid off and we are now home to both Wales’ national football and rugby teams, as well as Cardiff City Football Club, while we are also first choice to many high-profile visiting teams.”
In the past, the Vale Resort has hosted Juventus and Real Madrid, and this year has played host to FC Porto and Hertha Berlin. Plans are afoot to host 16 of the championship football teams next year.
The Vale Pavilion forms part of the Vale Resort’s Elite Sports Academy, a 40-acre development in the resort’s grounds, which includes seven rugby and football training pitches, built to FIFA and IRB specifications, an international-size 3G all-weather pitch, a 60m x 50m indoor 3G training pitch and state-of-the-art weights rooms.
Jonathan Ford, chief executive of the Football Association of Wales, said:
“Over what has been an incredibly exciting time for Welsh football and the National sides, the Football Association of Wales’ workforce has grown in numbers to meet the requirements of a contemporary football association.
“The FAW has modernised to the extent that it needs office space to reflect that in addition to a more modern way of working which the new FAW Headquarter offices at the Vale Resort will allow.
“We, at the FAW, are very excited for our staff, Senior National squads and coaches to be housed at the renowned sporting facilities.”
The training facilities for the Senior National sides at the Vale Resort will complement both National Football Development Centres at Colliers Park, Wrexham and Dragon Park, Newport.
The Vale Resort will host the Cymru Senior Men’s squad from Monday 11 November as they train for their crucial UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers. Cymru will first face Azerbaijan away, before their final EURO 2020 qualifying match at Cardiff City Stadium, against Hungary on Tuesday 19 November.