Bangor City said goodbye to the Welsh Premier League after playing their final game of the season, which transpired to be a bittersweet occasion, beating Bala Town to finish 2nd in the league, but it will all count for nothing after the decision by the Football Association of Wales (FAW) to revoke the club’s license to play in the league next season.
The Bangor City players did well to lift themselves under the circumstances and put in a gritty performance against a strong and determined Bala side. Steven Hewitt gave City a first half lead before Ian Sheridan’s volley levelled the score in the second half, but Bangor weren’t finished and a sublime strike from George Harry in the 90th minute ensured City won the game 2-1 and a deserved 2nd place finish in the league, much to the delight of the large contingent of travelling Bangor City fans.
Assistant manager Gary Taylor-Fletcher said: “We can’t ask for anything more from the lads tonight, to play like that in the circumstances and to finish the season showing that we are the 2nd best team in the Welsh Premier, that was our aim from the start. Amazing support from the fans as usual.”
The decision by the FAW to revoke Bangor City’s license means they will be unable to play in the Welsh Premier League next season and will be relegated to the Cymru Alliance League, the second tier of Welsh football.
Connah’s Quay Nomads and Llanelli Town both won their appeals and the right to play in the Welsh Premier next season, the decision also means that Carmarthen Town who had been relegated, will now remain in the Welsh Premier in lieu of Bangor’s expulsion from the league.
Bangor would normally have achieved automatic qualification into the Europa League qualifying rounds by finishing 2nd in the league, but this will also be revoked as a Welsh Premier domestic license is a prerequisite to clubs obtaining the UEFA License required to play in the competition. Under the rules Bangor’s place in the Europa League Qualifiers will now fall to the 3rd place team Connah’s Quay Nomads.
The prize money for playing in the qualifying rounds European competition is substantial, €215,000 for first qualifying round, €225,000 for second qualifying round, €220,00 for third and €235,000 for play-off losing teams who won’t qualify for group stages.
Two Welsh Premier clubs have participated in The Scottish Challenge (Irn-Bru) Cup since 2016, which have been the clubs finishing 1st and 2nd place in the Welsh Premier. There is no prerequisite of a Welsh Domestic or UEFA License to participate in the competition and Bangor would be eligible to take part, but they would require an invitation from the Scottish Football Association, it’s unclear whether this will be forthcoming following the clubs demotion.
A statement released by Bangor City on Thursday evening read: “We have received the news that our Welsh Premier League licence and Europa league qualification appeal has been revoked for failure to meet the financial criteria requirements.
“The football club has built a championship contending squad with excellent sponsorship, investors and shareholders who have backed the club for the past two seasons.
“On the field we’ve finished third and off the field we find ourselves up date with HMRC VAT and PAYE, all wages for the squad and the staff are paid up to date.
“We will take stock of the situation over the next few days and make further announcements in due course. In the meantime we ask all the supporters to stand with us as we aim to get the club back in the WPL as soon as we can.
“We will work with the relevant parties at the FAW to ensure we are never in this position in the future.”
A ‘Fans Forum’ has been arranged by the club on Monday 30th April at 7pm in the Farrar Suite at Nantporth, giving fans an opportunity to meet with the club management and to ask questions.