National League clarify playoff final decision to town’s MS

Wrexham’s Member of the Senedd, Lesley Griffiths, has received an explanation as to why the National League playoff final will be held at West Ham United’s London Stadium.

After weeks of rumours, The National League finally confirmed at the end of last month that this year’s showpiece finale will take place on Sunday 5th June at the host venue of the London 2012 Olympics, much to the disappointment of many Wrexham AFC fans.

While there is still no guarantee Wrexham AFC will be involved, fans were left frustrated as the game is scheduled to take place on the same day Wales host Scotland or Ukraine with a place at the World Cup at stake, meaning some loyal fans will have to choose between club and country.

Moreover, it is looking increasingly likely the playoff positions will be occupied by northern clubs so the decision to stage the final at the London Stadium on a Sunday during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations did not appear to be the most sensible option.

Lesley Griffiths, who attended her first match at the Racecourse Ground fifty years ago, wrote to the Vanarama National League seeking an explanation and scheduled a telephone call with the organisation’s General Manager, Mark Ives.

Wrexham’s MS said: “Realistically, I recognised it was always going to be a longshot to expect the playoff final venue to be changed at this late stage.  However, after being contacted by a number of constituents, I believed it was important the fans’ voices were heard and for the National League to at least explain how the decision was reached.

“Although fans will remain disappointed by the overall outcome, I am grateful to Mark Ives for his thorough explanation and it is clear from the positive conversation I had with him the National League considered multiple avenues and options.

“Once the National League was aware the playoff date clashed with Wales’ World Cup qualifier, investigations were made as to whether the game could be moved to Saturday 4th June but it was, unfortunately, not a viable option operationally.  Regarding the venue, I was reassured a number of potential options were explored, including in Wales, but many stadiums that met the requirements were unavailable.

“Ultimately, I hope this correspondence will be inconsequential and we won’t have to worry about the playoffs!  With Wrexham top of the league after yesterday’s pulsating victory over Stockport, there’s every chance we’ll be celebrating promotion back to the football league on Sunday as champions.”