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Welsh FA to vote against Blatter at Fifa election

The Football Association of Wales (FAW) says its executives will be voting for Prince Ali bin al-Hussain of Jordan in the Fifa Presidential Elections tomorrow.

It comes amid continued allegations of corruption at the very top of world football.

Current FIFA President, Sepp Blatter Credit: PA

The Football Association of Wales representatives, Chief Executive Jonathan Ford, President Trefor Lloyd Hughes and Vice President David Griffiths, who are currently in Zurich for the 65th Fifa Congress, have confirmed that the FAW will be voting for Prince Ali bin al-Hussain of Jordan in the Fifa Presidential Elections tomorrow.

– FAW statement

Ashley Smith retires from rugby

Credit: Nigel French/EMPICS Sport

Newport Gwent Dragons have confirmed that Ashley Smith has retired on medical grounds with immediate effect.

The club says Smith has suffered a series of concussive events and after expert advice he has decided to hang up his boots.

The Dragons academy product was identified at an early age as he went on to represent Wales throughout the age grades and captained the U20s in the 2007 Six Nations Tournament.

The 28-year-old began his time with the Region in 2005 and has made an outstanding contribution with over 160 appearances for the Dragons. Before his time with the Men of Gwent, Smith made a number of appearances for premiership side Newport RFC.

I am utterly disappointed and devastated that I have been forced to retire through injury but I feel that the medical advice given to me cannot be ignored.

It’s been a great honour to play for my home Region. I have supported both Newport RFC and the Dragons since I was young so playing at Rodney Parade was a massive privilege for me.

I will miss running out in front of our fantastic fans and look forward to standing alongside them cheering on the boys in the future. To leave now when the potential within the group is about ready to come to fruition is hard to take. I have enjoyed my role as a senior member of the squad helping guide the next generation of players into what is certain to be an exciting time for them with both club and country.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my wife, family and close friends who have supported me throughout my rugby career and most recently over the past few weeks, which has been a stressful time for me.

I would also like to thank the medical team at Newport Gwent Dragons - they too have been a fantastic support.

Looking forward I am not sure what the future holds for me or even what I want to do, but I am planning on taking some time to reflect on my opportunities, wherever that may be.

To be lucky enough to have played our sport for a living is something I cannot describe, the memories I have gained along the way will last a lifetime as well as the values the game instills.

I wish the squad and everyone at the region all the very best for the future.

– Ashley Smith

We are all so upset at the news of Ashley’s forced retirement.

Over his ten years at Rodney Parade, he has been a credit to the Region, himself and his family. We will miss his maturity, football, decision making and his experience. It’s a big blow for us, but Ashley has made the right decision for himself and his family.

We wish him well for the future.

– Lyn Jones, Director of Rugby


Coleman on fence in Ramsey debate

Credit: Tsafrir Abayov/PA Wire

Wales manager Chris Coleman says he can see the debate from both sides when it comes to Aaron Ramsey filling a wide role or central midfield position for FA Cup finalists Arsenal.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has played Wales star Ramsey in wider positions this year, with the player himself publicly declaring he prefers to occupy the middle ground.

And while Coleman claims he would not consider Ramsey as a winger in Wales colours unless circumstances dictated otherwise, he also understands Wenger's position.

In my opinion, he does all his best work for Wales in the centre.

Offensively, he starts in the centre, but he is a player who goes everywhere. He can end up wide. But it is different when you haven't got the ball. As a wide player, the job is different.

Yes, I can understand his (Ramsey's) frustrations, but I can also understand why Wenger may play him out there.

If you look at his physical statistics, he does the most high-intensity running because his engine is incredible.

So he can do the miles, he can get forward and back, so I can see why Wenger has maybe done that.

I can see it from both sides. But for us, I wouldn't (play him wide) unless I really absolutely had to."

– Chris Coleman, Wales Manager

Injury blow for Wales ahead of Rugby World Cup

Wales centre Jonathan Davies has ruled himself out of this year's Rugby World Cup with a knee injury.

Wales' Jonathan Davies will not play at the Rugby World Cup. Credit: PA

In a statement the WRU said Davies has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament which ruled him out of the tournament.

The 27-year-old, who has played 48 times for Wales, suffered the injury for his club side Clermont Auvergne against Montpellier and will undergo surgery in the coming days.

The Welsh Rugby Union and Clermont medical teams have been in constant dialogue and Davies is likely to be unavailable for 6-7months.

It’s a disappointment for Jonathan and for us, but the advice is for him to have the surgery straight away.

– Warren Gatland


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