Wales want to stop being called Wales after the World Cup

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The Football Association of Wales is understood to have already had informal discussions with Uefa over its name change

Wales want to stop being called Wales after the World Cup

Wales are considering changing their name to Cymru on the international stage and are planning discussions on the topic with players and staff following this year’s World Cup.

The Football Association of Wales refers to its teams as Cymru, the Welsh name for Wales, on a domestic level but they will be known as Wales in Qatar, their first World Cup since 1958.

Noel Mooney, the chief executive of the FAW, said the potential change would be a reflection of a “renaissance of the Welsh language” and revealed there have been unofficial conversations with Uefa over the possible switch.

“The team should always be called Cymru, that’s what we call it here,” Mooney told the Press Association. “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. Internationally we feel we have a bit more work to do yet. So we are going to this World Cup as Wales.

Welcome to Wales road sign - Wales want to stop being called Wales after the World Cup
CREDIT: Alamy/Jeff Morgan

“But I think 2023 will be a year when we have a good discussion with all the different stakeholders – whether that be 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.”

There is precedent for such a change, with Turkey now competing on the international stage as Turkiye following a request by the country’s government for the anglicised version to be dropped.

“You’ve seen countries like Azerbaijan, Turkey and others use their own language,” said Mooney. “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.”

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