Football Association of Wales

Three days in Cardiff, three different venues and three points

As previously announced, the project’s technical partners are currently visiting the participating sport organisations and ACR+’s Project Manager, Ernest Kovacs, just got back from his first site visit within the ACCESS project’s framework – the first destination was Cardiff, where he met the Welsh FA’s counterparts responsible for environmental management.

To conclude the initial phase of the project which revolved around screening and assessing existing operational and governance practices in the sport organisations participating in the ACCESS project, a set of site visits are taking place this early spring which had a twofold purpose – validating the observations and conclusions and discussing outlooks for the establishment of Circular City Committees – ACCESS’ flagship platform for improving environmental performances.

During three days, from 27 to 29 April, multiple site visits took place, all being key for the Welsh FA’s activities, events and operations. Welcomed by Jason Webber, the FA’s Senior Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Integrity Manager, the day started with a morning briefing and site visit of the Welsh national team’s home stadium – Cardiff City FC stadium. Joined by Christopher Martin, Stadium Logistics Officer, the site visit included several on site operations such as discussing the food and food waste management with the contractor, waste management and all the operations around it, as well as mobility. The presence of Rebecca Crockett, the FA’s Special Projects Manager allowed Ernest to follow up on the previously conducted interview with her. An important added value was the fact that the Welsh men’s national team was hosting the Latvian one that evening, which allowed the site visit to include further observations during the match itself.

The following day served as an opportunity for a focus group which saw Jason, Ernest and Helen Antoniazzi, recently hired as the Head of Public Affairs discussing the conclusions and summaries of the various interviews conducted earlier this year. As previously mentioned, this focus group did not only serve to validate those observations and summaries but also to discuss what the Welsh FA’s Circular City Committee would look like regards the objectives and expectations within the ACCESS’ framework. Or, more specifically – how could these observations and conclusions feed into the Committee’s future workplan. As Jason and Helen explained, the FA’s recently published Sustainability Plan would see the creation of two bodies, one responsible for the implementation of various actions aimed at achieving the Plan’s objectives and one for overseeing the process and provide validation and cross-check. These two bodies would indeed be important contributors to the wider Circular City Committee that would also include external stakeholders, relevant to targeted improvements. The day continued with a visit of the FA’s headquarters in Hensol and Dragon Park in the neighbouring city of Newport.

Concluding the visit, Ernest said: “This study visit certainly met my expectations, mainly because of the warm welcome and incredible hospitality shown by the FA. I could easily call this visit an intimate one, as the discussions were very open, addressing both strengths and weaknesses of the FA and its operations. Because, simply, without such discussions being open and sincere, the identification of opportunities and making the best of this project for the FA of Wales could easily end up being a much harder job than it should be. And, as the cherry on the cake, I am happy this visit ended with a victory over Latvia and three points for Wales.”

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