Gareth Bale has welcomed a £4million investment into grassroots football in Wales following World Cup qualification.
Skipper Bale sealed Wales’ first World Cup appearance for 64 years earlier this month when his free-kick against Ukraine was diverted into his own goal by Andriy Yarmolenko.
World Cup success will now feed down to local level with the Football Association of Wales confirming all projected profit from FIFA’s prize money will be invested directly into facilities across the country.
Bale said: “We are delighted that qualifying for the World Cup finals also means that grassroots clubs across Wales will benefit as the FAW support the development of inspirational, fit-for-purpose facilities.”
FAW chief executive Noel Mooney has regularly highlighted the need to improve local facilities throughout Wales since his appointment 11 months ago.
Mooney said: “As we strive to create a leading football nation, it’s vitally important that the FAW and its funding partners step up and take full advantage of the opportunity that qualification for the World Cup presents us.
“Grassroots facilities for football across Cymru are particularly poor and our key strategic objective is to tackle this now.
“We want to build grassroots clubs across Cymru that act as wellness spaces for the community and to drive the Cymru football movement forward through health, culture, music, language, sustainability, equality, diversity and inclusion.
“We cannot do this without significant support from Welsh Government, Local Authorities and DCMS but today we demonstrate our complete commitment to addressing the chronic issues in Cymru’s grassroots football facilities to enable girls and boys to play football in decent conditions.”
The FAW announced the first phase of its Grassroots Facilities Fund programme in May, with £3.2m worth of work starting on 47 projects across Wales.