WALES football coach Chris Coleman said Newport is the “new home of Welsh football”, as building work began on the new centre of excellence at the Newport Sports Village yesterday.

The £4.1 million venture being funded jointly by the Football Association of Wales and football governing bodies UEFA and FIFA is now under way after planning permission was granted and funding secured.

Newport beat more than 70 potential rival sites for the development which will include state-of-the-art training pitches and the new headquarters of the FAW.

It is estimated the work will be completed in January 2013.

Newport City Council leader Matthew Evans joined FAW chief executive Jonathan Ford in saying what a huge honour it is for the city.

“This is another milestone in the establishment of a centre of excellence for the country’s footballers and I would like to thank the Football Association of Wales, the Welsh Football Trust and Newport City Council staff for working together to progress the project to this latest stage,” he said.

“I am proud that Newport was chosen from a number of potential locations across South Wales and that the city is going to be the home for talented young players of today and the future “It is also important to note that the 3G pitch will not only be a first- class facility for national players but will also benefit the residents of Newport as it will be available for community use.

“I look forward to seeing the state-ofthe- art facilities that will be created by the FAWand the Welsh Football Trust becoming a reality.

“After the Ryder Cup, this facility further helps to establish Newport as a top class sporting city.”

Mr Coleman, the successor to the late Gary Speed, said: “I envisage this becoming our (the senior teams) permanent home and there will be continuity as the youngsters will play here too.

Newport is the new home of Welsh football.”

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Our new place in Welsh sport

NEWPORT is the new home of Welsh football.

This week marks ten years since it was announced the Queen was to give Newport city status – and that sentence is not a bad way to celebrate.

The beauty of the sentence is it is not some slogan dreamed up by an advertising agency. It is not a soundbite from a politician or spin doctor.

The words come from the manager of Wales, Chris Coleman, and sum up his genuine view of Newport’s new place in Welsh sport.

Mr Coleman was speaking as building work began yesterday of the Football Association of Wales’ new headquarters and centre of excellence.

Based at the Newport International Sports Village – already home to the national velodrome, and the city’s main swimming pool, tennis centre and football and athletics stadium – the £4.1 million project will become the main training base for Welsh national teams up to and including the Under-21s.

It was clear from Mr Coleman’s words yesterday that he also sees the new facility eventually becoming the permanent home of the senior Wales team.

State-of-the-art training pitches – both grass and artificial – will be the centrepieces of the new centre of excellence.

As we have said before, the project is a feather in Newport’s cap. But it will also be fantastic for the development of football in Newport as a new generation of Welsh internationals is groomed in the city.