Why Do Swansea City & Cardiff City Play In England But Not Wales?

Why Do Swansea City & Cardiff City Play In England But Not Wales?

England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales all have their own leagues, but uniquely, the biggest
Welsh sides all play in the English Football League (EFL).

So, why do Swansea City & Cardiff City play in England? We have you covered with the answer!

Why Do Swansea City & Cardiff City Play In England?

Ultimately, Cymru Premier (the Welsh Premier League) is relatively new, only being created in 1992. Before its formation, the football infrastructure in Wales was limited.

Cardiff and Swansea had been playing in England since their creation in 1899 and 1912, respectively, and it was felt that the new format would be unsettling, less competitive, and, most importantly, not financially favourable.

Whilst teams were encouraged to join the Welsh pyramid, Newport County, Merthyr Town, Wrexham,
Cardiff City and Swansea decided to stick with tradition (as official lines would tell you) and abstain from
joining the Welsh League.

Ultimately, their decision to stick was financially motivated and how can you blame them when comparing each country’s top divisions?

The English Premier League’s broadcasting revenue grew from £191 million in 1992 to over £5 billion in 2019. In contrast, in 2018, the total revenue of the Cymru Premier was a mere £5 million, the fifth lowest in the UEFA circuit. There is little financial incentive for sides to play in the Welsh League, and because of this, their decision to stay put is wholly justifiable and unlikely to change.

So, while all these teams are actually Welsh, due to the league being new and the money being terrible in comparison to the English Football League, they have opted to stay in the English pyramid.

Perhaps in the future, the Welsh football system will improve, but realistically, will the likes of Swansea City and Cardiff City, who have all tasted the joys of Premier League football, really want to give that opportunity up? We suspect not.

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