Welsh Assembly debates plans for a national football museum
Geraldine Kendall Adams, 29.11.2018
Assembly also discusses creating national gallery of contemporary art
Plans to create a national football museum for Wales were debated by the Welsh Assembly this week.
The assembly was presented with a feasibility report which recommended the town of Wrexham in north-east Wales as the best location for the museum. Described in the report as the “spiritual home” of football in Wales, the town is already home to the Welsh Football Collection, currently housed at Wrexham County Borough Museum.
The report recommends building a £4.4m extension on the existing museum to house the football-specific venue. The report also suggests that other sporting heritage could be included in the proposed museum.
Assembly members heard that the museum could act as a catalyst for economic regeneration in north-east Wales, attracting an estimated 80,000 visitors a year to the town. It would require around £144,500 a year from the Welsh government towards its running costs.
Llyr Gruffydd of Plaid Cymru, whose party first proposed the idea of a sports museum for Wales, said: “The report’s findings are a vindication of the campaign launched three years ago, when I and Plaid Cymru colleagues first went public on this alongside Wrexham Supporters Trust directors.”
However, Gruffydd said he would continue to press for the museum to be incorporated into a future development of the town’s Racecourse Ground football stadium, home to Wrexham Football Club – a site that was dismissed as unsuitable by the feasibility report.
The minister for culture, tourism and sport, Dafydd Elis-Thomas, said: “We will respond to the debate in a practical manner, because my intention after today is to start to take action."
Elis-Thomas said he would “continue to consult with the sector” and added: “I won’t be making final decisions until I’ve had a lengthy conversation with those who have contributed today.”
The assembly also considered a feasibility study into the creation of a new national gallery of contemporary art for Wales.
The report recommended forming a decentralised collection of newly commissioned works dispersed at sites across Wales in the gallery's first phase, before eventually establishing a physical headquarters. It recommended that the collection remain distributed across the country, with existing venues able to use the "national gallery" brand.
Costs of the gallery project are estimated to be between £50m and £180m.
The Welsh government has yet to come to a decision on either proposal.