By Olly Allen
Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday programme rarely, if ever, covers the Welsh top-flight in its coverage of the weekend’s games. However, that changed on Saturday 28 September, but for all the wrong reasons. On a day when the talking point should have been perennial champions The New Saints losing a home league game for just the fourth time in three years, something rather more bewildering caught the attention.
“Something I’ve never seen before has happened”, host Jeff Stelling chuckled. “The League of Wales [Cymru Premier] game today, between Cardiff Met University and Cefn Druids has been postponed. Due to a kit clash!”.
“What? No!”, “Someone’s got to have some bibs”, “Skins!” were the responses from the punditry team, in fits of laughter. “I have never ever, ever, ever heard of a game being called off at that level, for a kit clash. I mean not even at Sunday morning level!”, Stelling affirmed.
The reaction just about sums up the situation. The incident is embarrassing for a division that is trying to present itself as more professional – this summer, the league structure underwent a rebrand with a new name, new logo and the inclusion of the first and second tiers under the same banner. But a story such as this reaching national media, along with the fact that there was no website for the league until matchday eight, won’t help matters.
The question must be asked why the kit clash and subsequent postponement was allowed to happen in the first place. Cardiff Met’s home shirt is a dark red maroon colour, so it is confusing that Cefn Druids arrived in their red away shirt, considering their black and white home strip would not have clashed. They could, however, point to Llanelli wearing red against Met last season as a precedent for the game going ahead.
In addition, Gair Rhydd Sport understands that it would have taken Cardiff Met over an hour to source their away kit, which would not have been feasible as the pitch at the Cyncoed Campus was booked directly after the Cymru Premier fixture, adding to the bizarre nature of the situation. Furthermore, we understand that the kits for all matches in the division are confirmed in midweek on the FAW’s COMET system online and that it is the referee’s job to check for clashes. It must be presumed that Gavin Townsend, the official in question who took the decision to postpone the game, did not do this.
A statement from Cefn Druids, who had travelled over 130 miles for the match, read: “Prior to the fixture, the club had communicated, in all good faith, with all relevant parties, as required. There was no intimation of a potential colour clash until the kit inspection by match officials at Cyncoed”.
Druids manager Huw Griffiths added: “I’ve had a word with the ref, and he’s said that he must do things that will keep the players safe and it’s important to give plenty of respect to him too. It’s hard to put all the blame on anyone and I don’t think anyone is to blame today, I just think it’s unfortunate”.
Meanwhile, Cardiff Met boss Christian Edwards said: “It’s very disappointing. Both teams were on the pitch ready to play. I think it’s just been an honest mistake from those at Druids bringing their red kits to Cardiff”.
Gair Rhydd Sport has contacted the FAW for comment but are yet to receive a response.