FA Wales support the young people of Carmarthenshire with their ‘passionate’ call for Welsh-language options on video games

Published Wed 6 Dec 2023 - By Literature Wales
FA Wales support the young people of Carmarthenshire with their ‘passionate’ call for Welsh-language options on video games
Copyright: FA Wales
FA Wales Officers, including Noel Mooney and Ian Gwyn Hughes, have declared their support for a campaign by pupils at Ysgol Pontyberem to secure Welsh as a language option on EA Sports games.

During a workshop with Bardd Plant Cymru, Casi Wyn, in the spring of 2023, the Year 6 pupils (2022-2023) created a letter calling on the company to add the Welsh-language option, emphasising Article 30 in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which states that every child has the right to use their own language.

At a special event held at Stadium on Tuesday 5 December, some of the most influential individuals within Welsh football came to listen to the pupils presenting their case. The guests included Steve Williams, FAW President; Will Lloyd Williams, Vice President; Noel Mooney, Chief Executive Officer of FAW, Gemma Lewis, Women and Girls’ Pathway Manager, Dr David Adams, Chief Football Officer, Ian Gwyn Hughes, Head of Public Relations, and Helen Antoniazzi, Head of Public Affairs.

EA Sports’ FC game (previously FIFA) is amongst the most popular video game in the world. With over 325 million copies sold, it is available in over 51 countries and 18 languages. However, it is not possible to play through the medium of Welsh.

Noel Mooney, the Chief Executive Officer at FA Wales, who is learning Welsh, greeted the children in their mother tongue. He said “it is important”, and that

“we, the Football Association of Wales, support you. Thank you, thank you.”

The young people’s passion had an impact on Ian Gwyn Hughes, who stated that the Welsh-language should be

“A modern, every day, confident, young language that everyone can enjoy outside school. We all know that football is the most popular sport in the world. This addition to one of the most famous football games would give more status and confidence to the language and everyone who speaks it, and could sustain its growth for the future. Because you are the future. And it is fantastic to see this message from young people. All of us at the Football Association of Wales are grateful for the work you have done and for the passion you feel for the matter.”

Copyright: FA Wales

The letter was brought to the attention of FA Wales in the summer. The pupils read from the letter to an audience of Senedd Members and representatives of national organisations in the Senedd at an event to celebrate the Bardd Plant Cymru scheme. They were then invited by FA Wales to present their case for some of their officers before the Wales V Germany international women’s match held at Swansea.Com stadium on Tuesday 5 December.

Bardd Plant Cymru (Welsh-language Children’s Laureate) is a national ambassadorial role awarded every two years which aims to inspire and empower children and young people across Wales through literature. Casi Wyn was in post between 2022-2023. A key element of the work is to listen to children and young people and see what and offer a creative way for them to share their voices, as well as advocating on their behalf.

Claire Furlong, Executive Director at Literature Wales said:

“The Bardd Plant Cymru scheme aims to empower children and young people to use their Welsh creatively and find confidence in their own voices.  I’m so proud of the children from Ysgol Pontyberem who used their workshops with the Bardd Plant Cymru, Casi Wyn, to call for a change about this issue that is so important to them. We are delighted to work with the FAW to give the pupils a platform to share their letter with the world and look forward to seeing the campaign develop.”

The Bardd Plant Cymru scheme is run by Literature Wales with the support of Welsh Government, S4C, Books Council of Wales and Urdd Gobaith Cymru. Further information about the Bardd Plant Cymru project is available on the Literature Wales website.