CUP football competition dates for the 2021/22 season in Wales will begin earlier than usual as clubs return to action following a year of cancelled matches.

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) said the first round of the Welsh Cup, which usually takes place in September, will instead be held on July 10, while the FAW Amateur Trophy will get underway on July 17. Meanwhile the Women’s Cup will begin on September 19, the FAW U16 Girls Cup on September 12 and the FAW Academy Finals on May 2.

An FAW statement said: “The decision to start earlier has been taken following guidance that has been issued in the Welsh Government Coronavirus Control Plan, which advises that spring and summer give us hope of more freedom, as rates of infection fall and more people are vaccinated.

“Therefore, the FAW is looking to maximise the playing opportunities where possible in the 2021/22 season, whilst taking into account the possible threat of further interruptions to competitions.”

Clubs across Wales’ domestic leagues including the JD Welsh Premier League, JD Cymru North League and the tier three Ardal League now have a clearer picture for competitive games, with those who entered competitions last year rolled over to the new season.

Sean Eardley, manager of Llandudno FC, in tier two, said the “earlier the better” that competitive matches are given the green light.

“If the new dates are confirmed as our first game of the season then will be fantastic as we can start pre-season games and give the lads a target date,” he said. “It has been a hellish long time, nearly a year, since the lads have kicked a ball but they have kept in good shape while the football has been called off.

“At the moment we can plan from the beginning of July but I think the league could start earlier; we could have one or two rounds before the cup games, but it is a shot in the dark to predict at the moment.

“The grounds can be in better condition in the summer than wintertime so it would not be a problem. We will just have to get the lads as physically and mentally ready as possible for 40 game season.”