World-first initiative from FAW will leave a new mark on the
--Wales becomes first nation in the world to adopt red pitch markings--
The Football Association of Wales (FAW) has announced it is launching a new innovation for its domestic leagues that will be a world-first on the football pitch.
To promote its community partnership with the Welsh Blood Service, the FAW will be working with the JD Cymru Leagues and the Orchard Welsh Premier Women’s League to turn all pitch markings red for the start of the new season.
The decision will see Wales become the first nation in the world to adopt red pitch markings across its domestic leagues, replacing the traditional white markings that have been a common sight on football pitches since the late 1800s.
The FAW has created a new type of red paint called ‘gwaed red’ for the campaign and will work closely with each football club to roll out the new change. It’s the first time the Welsh Blood Service, or any sponsor of its kind, has made changes to the pitch markings.
Oli Farslop, Chairman of the National Leagues Board, said: “The creative decision to paint the pitch lines red was a straightforward one for us, we think bright red markings are a great way to ensure everyone is aware of our partnership with the Welsh Blood Service. When this is introduced at the start of the new season, we know this is something that will make the matches in our league really stand out.
“It’s important for the FAW to look at new ways to innovate the game. Not only will the red pitch markings be a world-first, but it will also get local fans talking about the importance of giving blood, which could save hundreds of lives.”
Every single day the Welsh Blood Service needs to collect 350 blood donations to supply 21 hospitals with enough blood for patients, to support lifesaving procedures. With 100,000 blood donations each year from 70,000 volunteer donors, the organisation hopes its partnership with the FAW will support its goal of signing 11,000 new blood donors in 2021.
Giving blood is considered an essential service, and donation sessions have continued across Wales throughout the pandemic with additional safety measures introduced to meet Welsh Government guidance for donors attending.
Alan Prosser, Director of the Welsh Blood Service, said: “When we held discussions with the FAW about becoming Cymru Leagues and Welsh Premier Women’s League partners, we wanted to do something a little bit different to get football fans talking about blood donation. There’s no better way to do it than through a world-first initiative. We have continued to receive fantastic support from donors across Wales and we hope this encourages more fans to show their support by joining our lifesaving team.”
To learn more about those sessions or donating blood, visit wbs.wales/football.