Trish Turner named first woman to be part of FAW's ruling council
Trish Turner has broken 137 years of tradition in Welsh football by becoming the first female to be appointed to the FAW’s ruling council.
FAW bosses hope the move will be seen in a positive light as part of an attempt to help bring the third oldest football association in the world into the 21st century.
Trish combines being a full-time mother of two youngsters, Owen, five, and Caitlin, two, with working at Powys County Council and doing her voluntary work to promote women’s football in Wales.
She joins the FAW in a newly-formed position as representative of the Women’s National Premier League, which was formed a few years ago.
But as a member of the 31-strong FAW ruling council, her vote will count on every football matter. This will include who the next manager of Wales should be.
At 34 years of age, Trish will also bring zest and fresh energy to a governing body which, fairly or unfairly, is often criticised by football fans as being a blazer brigade out of date with modern-day football.
There were even claims recently from former FAW member Andrew Edwards, who quit his role, of some individuals falling asleep at meetings.
The majority of people on the council have been in situ for decades, Many are of pensioner age, with a few of them even in their eighties and nineties.
Because of her gender and age, Trish’s elevation will be viewed as a huge step in the right direction by sports fans in general, but also by the likes of SportWales and the Welsh Government, bodies which help provide funding to the round-ball game.
Trish, who first got involved in football as a founder member of Llanidloes Women’s FC, has been a player and administrator for 11 years.
She is upbeat about her FAW role and in particular about promoting the women’s game, which has been the fastest growing sport in Europe.
“The men’s Welsh Premier League has a representative on the FAW, so it was decided that we should have one too for our own league,” said Trish.
“When decisions are made, I will be able to report back directly about how they were reached, rather than have it fed back third-hand.
“But while women’s football is my main role, our chief executive Jonathan Ford has told me that my vote on other matters will be as equal and valid to that of any other member of the FAW Council.
“I’m going to have to broaden my knowledge, but this is a new challenge which really excites me.”
Trish helped get the Llanidloes women’s team up and running because “a few of us wanted to play football, there was nothing around, so we started our own side.”
She continued: “It was my first involvement in football, because when I was at university I played rugby, netball and hockey.
“But I quickly became engrossed with football and after I had to pack up playing because of injury, I happily got involved in the administrative side.”
That, of course, goes to a whole new level with her involvement on the FAW.
Asked about breaking down the Blazer Brigade barriers, Trish replied diplomatically: “Look, I don’t think of it in those terms because I don’t know what the barriers are.
“Yes, it’s a fact that I’m the first woman to be appointed to the FAW Council, a body that has always been dominated by men.
“But many of the people who have served on the FAW for many years have been tremendously supportive to me.
“There are three council members from my own neck of the woods in mid-Wales, Phil Pritchard, Phil Jones and Phil Woosnam, who have been really helpful and have already given me lots of advice.
“Our president, Trefor Lloyd-Hughes, was one of the first to congratulate me and introduced me to the others at the first meeting I attended.
“People generally have been very warm towards the idea of the FAW having its first female representative. It’s clearly a big step forward, because there are still lots of sporting bodies out there which don’t have a woman on board.”
Asked if she would be intimidated by the male dominance around her, Trish smiled: “I’m not too bad at speaking out and making my point when I need to!
“But I will do it at the appropriate time, not simply for the sake of it.”
FAW chief executive Ford is delighted with the change to more than a century of tradition, saying: “To have a woman on the FAW council for the first time is a very positive step forward for us.
“I hope it helps demonstrate a more modern approach, a more thinking out of the box attitude. Her vote will count as much as anyone else’s.”
“There are cliques within the FAW, of course there are, as is the case with any walk of occupation.
“There are people with us who represent various leagues or area associations, or who believe there is a north-south divide.
“I can understand that because a lot of those loyalties are quite established with people.
“But Trish can come in and look at this with a fresh and open mind and that’s what she will do.”
“The number one thing in the FAW handbook is that we are there to serve the good of Welsh football first and foremost.
“Sometimes that means a decision is made against your group, league or area, but if it’s for the general good of Welsh football that’s the way forward.
“Trish will bring fresh ideas to the table and her role will be an important part of our future going forward.”
From Wales Online