Wales have all Euro 2020 bases covered pending outcome of Ryan Giggs situation

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Jamie Gardner, PA Chief Sports Reporter and Phil Blanche, PA
·4-min read
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Football Association of Wales president Kieron O’Connor says the governing body has all bases covered if Ryan Giggs cannot take charge of the national team at Euro 2020 this summer.

Ryan Giggs missed the last two camps in November and March after being arrested on suspicion of assault, an allegation which he denies, and he has had his bail extended until May 1.

Robert Page has been a successful caretaker manager in Giggs’ absence, winning four of his six games in charge with the only defeat coming against the world’s top-ranked side Belgium.

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But former Wales captain Ashley Williams has described the situation as a “mess” and hopes for a swift resolution to the matter, with the Dragons’ Euro 2020 opener just two months away on June 12.

“The situation is quite clear – Ryan is bailed until May 1,” O’Connor told the PA news agency.

“The CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) has to make a decision on May 1 and we have a Plan A, B, C, D, E, F and G for all eventualities.

“We will make the decision on May 1 once we know what the situation is with Ryan.”

O’Connor confirmed that Wales’ plan for a pre-tournament camp in Portugal has been given the go-ahead due to the reduced number of Covid-19 infections in the country.

But he said Wales’ Euro 2020 schedule, with games against Switzerland and Turkey in the Azerbaijani capital Baku and Italy in Rome, is a “bit grey in all the areas” because of coronavirus restrictions.

Baku has proposed a 50 per cent capacity at its 70,000 Olympic Stadium venue, while Rome’s 72,000-plus Stadio Olimpico will be at least 25 per cent full.

Wales fans will be welcomed at both venues, although UEFA said of Rome’s fixtures that there will be no exemptions over any travel restrictions in place at the time for people arriving from outside Italy.

Olympic Stadium, Baku
Wales start their Euro 2020 campaign against Switzerland at Baku’s Olympic Stadium on June 12 (Steven Paston/PA)

“We’re obviously delighted fans will be there, although Baku is not the easiest place for Welsh fans to get to,” said O’Connor, who has launched his campaign to be elected as a FIFA vice-president.

“We are hoping there will be a Welsh contingent there. The issue we have is that we play Turkey there, and Turkey is on the border of Azerbaijan. So I’m sure the Turks will take up their full allocation.

“We’ll see, it’s still a bit grey in all the areas. We’re playing in Rome for our third game and we’re advised that anybody going to the Rome game has to isolate for five days when they arrive there.

“It could all change again. It may suddenly be that if you have had your vaccinations you can travel, it’s moving all the time unfortunately.”

As well as the uncertainty over the manager’s position, the FAW is currently without a chief executive after Jonathan Ford’s 11-year tenure came to an end last month.

Jonathan Ford
Jonathan Ford’s 11-year stay as chief executive of the Football Association of Wales came to an end last month (Ben Birchall/PA)

On whether Ford’s successor would be in place before the Euros, O’Connor said: “We don’t know is the honest answer because the object of the exercise is to get the right person.

“At the moment the FAW administratively is working fine. We just want to make sure we get the right man or woman, and if it means we’ve got to wait to get that person, then we will wait.

“The object of the exercise is to get the right person and we will see where that leads us. We have had some very interesting enquiries from people I wouldn’t expect to get enquiries from, but it’s progressing quite nicely.”

Asked whether he was confident that candidates would be drawn from a diverse group, O’Connor replied: “I have actually said I am not going to look at any CVs until the closing date.

“I have had several phone calls from people who have said, ‘yes, I’m going to put (an application) in’, and we will see what we come up with.”