A NEWPORT footballer, who was threatened with having to leave her team because she is a girl, has been assured she can continue to play.
Megan Lewis, 11, from Richmond Road, plays for the Riverside Rovers under 11s and would like to stay with her club for next season.
But the Wales Football Association rules state that after the age of 12, boys and girls cannot play together unless there is no junior league available.
Now, the Gwent Football Association has confirmed the 11-year-old centre midfielder will be able to play as there is a lack of provision.
Gwent county FA secretary Alan Watkins said: “As far as we’re concerned we haven’t got a girls’ league in Gwent. Because there’s no league, young girls can play up to the age of 16.
“I’ve written to the secretary of the Newport League to say they must register girls up to the age of 16.”
Both England and Scotland allow girls to play on mixed teams until 15.
The Argus reported yesterday how Megan started an online petition asking the FAW to amend the law for Welsh players.
Mr Watkins said: “If it’s the case in England, it should be here too. We’ve all got to be singing from the same song sheet.”
There are currently two girls teams in Newport – Maesglas Amazons and Villo Dino. At the moment the most local league is the South Wales Girls League, which is affiliated to the South Wales FA. Gwent girls’ teams are allowed to play in this league, as there is no provision under the Gwent County FA, which according to Mr Watkins is because girls football in Gwent is too small.
Megan and her family have said they will continue with their petition. Her mother, Sian Pretty, said: “We want for these girls to have the same rights as the girls in England.”
Andrew Howard of FAW, told the Argus: “As there are girls-only teams at that stage, she should play on a girls team. It’s very much to grow the women’s game.”
But the rules surrounding mixed football are under review by the FAW.
Described by her coach as his “best player”, the young footballer’s main reason for wanting to stay with her club for now was simply: “because all my friends are there.”
Her online petition can be found here: