Dave Edwards: Ex-Wales and Bala Town midfielder calls for Cymru Premier summer switch

Former Wales midfielder Dave Edwards has called for the Cymru Premier league to switch to a summer competition to boost leading clubs' chances in Europe.

Edwards played in Europe for Bala Town after his professional career ended and would make "fundamental" changes to the Welsh men's domestic top fight.

Teams such as The New Saints have often played - and lost to - teams whose leagues operate during summer months.

"I would definitely change it to a summer league," said Edwards.

"Because then when you play those European games it's in the middle of your season.

"I played twice in those European games with Bala and we hadn't started the season, it's July, we'd been back in training and tried to have a friendly and things like that.

"On both occasions we were playing Irish teams who were in the middle of their seasons; it's a massive difference between winning and losing.

"Both games I played in were really close, the second one against Sligo Rovers went to penalties, but they were 14 games into their season, I think."

No Welsh club has reached the group stage proper of any European competition while New Saints are the 12-team Cymru Premier's only full-time team.

A review of the league has been underway since 2022, but no recommendations have been made public.

Now-retired Edwards also believes the domestic competition would be boosted by better conditions and greater support during months covering the summer while improving the prospect of it becoming a fully professional tier.

"More people would go and watch it, in that big break in the EFL and the Premier League in the summer, more fans would go and watch the Welsh Premier League for those summer months," he told the Elis James’ Feast of Football podcast.

"There are some bleak winter nights when you're down at Connah's Quay or Haverfordwest and you've got a gale blowing in, I think changes to a summer league would help massively.

I don't know if it's possible to turn it into a professional league because at the moment there's not enough fans that watch it."

Edwards believes there is backing for radical changes among leading club officials.

"When I speak to the hierarchy at other clubs there is a common theme they'd like [a summer league] to happen," he said.

"When I was speaking to the people at Bala it makes a lot more sense and as a player you'd definitely prefer for it to work that way.

"I know (FAW chief executive) Noel Mooney is looking at loads of different things, desperate to improve the Welsh Premier League and there's so many different ways you can do it.

"First and foremost, you want more people watching it, turning up at games and really committing to their local teams.

"I don't think that happens enough and I don't know if that's the commercial aspect of the league or the quality on the pitch.

"Changing it to that summer league I think you'll naturally get more fans, on a summer's night you're more likely to go and watch it than a rainy Friday night at Maes Tegid,

"I don't think I've ever played in the winter and for it not be rainy and windy at Bala!

"Bala's a bit out of the way but with a lot of the south Wales teams, a lot of those fans will be Swansea and Cardiff fans, if you're playing on a Saturday you don't watch Penybont, you watch Swansea or Cardiff.

"I think it would help over the summer period when you can solely focus on their league of Wales team."