‘We are Cymru’: Wales football teams could change name after World Cup

Wales football teams could be named Cymru on the international stage in future, with the Football Association of Wales considering a change after the World Cup.

Cymru – the Welsh name for Wales – is already used by the FAW in its internal and external communications and by staff at the governing body’s headquarters. The FAW’s chief executive, Noel Mooney, has said the governing body may follow Turkey in asking for the teams to be renamed for international tournaments.

“The team should always be called Cymru, that’s what we call it here,” Mooney said. “Our view at the moment is that domestically we’re clearly called Cymru. That’s what we call our national teams. If you look at our website, how we talk about ourselves, we are very much Cymru.”

The FAW will speak to various stakeholders in Welsh football about the merits of changing the country’s name in European and global competition, and have already held informal discussions with Uefa on the subject.

“Internationally we feel we have a bit more work to do yet, so we are going to this World Cup as Wales,” Mooney said. “But I think 2023 will be a year when we have a good discussion with all the different stakeholders – governments, our own boards, councils and decision-making bodies, staff, club and players.

“We’re a very open democratic organisation and we don’t just unilaterally decide today to do something like that.

“I would say it’s the direction of travel, but there’s no firm decisions on it. It’s more almost by osmosis that we’re heading towards it.”

The issue of an official name change for Wales was brought into focus last month when Robert Page’s side were drawn in the same Euro 2024 qualifying group as Turkey, who now compete internationally as Türkiye. The change came after the Ankara government called for the country to be known globally by its Turkish name.

Mooney said: “You’ve seen countries like Azerbaijan, Turkey and others use their own language. They’re quite strong on it and we spoke to the Turkish at the Euro 2024 draw about it. We’ve also had unofficial discussions with Uefa over coffees at different events. Asking how Turkey did this, how other countries did that.

“We’ve asked what their direction of travel is. For example, is there a movement towards people using their indigenous language? What I do know is there’s a renaissance of the Welsh language and a sense of great pride in what we do with the culture and the heritage.”

Changing to Cymru would also move Wales away from the bottom of Uefa’s alphabetical list of nations at draws and meetings. “We sit by the Ukrainians all the time and that’s nice because we’ve become good friends with them,” Mooney joked. “But we would like to sit by the Croatians and the Czechs a bit more.”

Mooney, the former head of strategic development at Uefa, took over as the FAW chief executive in July 2021. The Irishman is currently learning Welsh and has set himself the target of holding a Q&A session at the National Eisteddfod next summer.