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Page last updated at 07:12 GMT, Wednesday, 9 September 2009 08:12 UK

Bellamy wants Wales games moved

Craig Bellamy
Craig Bellamy has won 56 international caps for Wales

Captain Craig Bellamy hopes that Wales will be able to take future competitive home matches around the country.

Wales struggle to fill the 74,500-seat Millennium Stadium, with just 10,000 tickets sold the day before Wednesday's World Cup qualifier match with Russia.

Next week a Football Association of Wales committee will discuss playing some qualifiers at alternative venues.

"With the crowds we are getting at the moment... a smaller stadium will definitely help us," Bellamy said.

"It's been on everyone's mind, we have been talking about this for a long time, but if it does happen then I would definitely welcome it."

Wales have often played friendly matches at senior and under-21 level at stadia such as Wrexham's 15,500-capacity Racecourse Ground, the 20,500-seater Liberty Stadium in Swansea and Llanelli's Parc y Scarlets, which holds 14,000.

With the construction of the new £50m 26,500-capacity Cardiff City Stadium, the FAW also now has an alternative venue in the capital.

If the FAW's International Committee agrees to the proposal when it meets on 15 September, the decision will be ratified at the next full council of Welsh football's governing body.

Bellamy stressed that he remains a fan of the Millennium Stadium, but that with current fan levels - far down on the 73,000 average of just five years ago that made Wales the best-supported team in Europe - smaller venues must be used.

"The Millennium Stadium is an outstanding stadium; being a Welshman, being from Cardiff, it's an honour to have such a stadium like that in our capital city," Bellamy added.

You realise who you are playing for, you're playing for those people as well and they don't half make a difference

Wales captain Craig Bellamy

"But if you're getting 18,000 it's such a big stadium and there's such big gaps... it's hard to create a tempo from it because there isn't much atmosphere there.

"But as players ourselves we have to take responsibility, over the last few years we haven't really given much to come and watch."

Wales' slim World Cup qualifying hopes were effectively ended last March when they lost 2-0 at home to Finland, in front of just 22,604 fans at the Millennium Stadium.

Bellamy makes no excuses for Wales' poor performance in that match, but is certain that a larger home crowd would have given the players a lift.

"I would have liked to have seen them there against Finland, because that was a very important game for us," Bellamy said.

606: DEBATE

"The numbers weren't there... obviously we didn't perform on the day but I'm talking before the game - there wasn't much of a crowd so there wasn't really much excitement for the game, which is a little bit disappointing.

"So we do have to look at it. Cardiff City is an outstanding new stadium, Swansea is very good, Wrexham has always been very good for us as a football nation - we've always had good results there.

"So we do have to look at bringing it and moving it round and trying to fill as many seats as we can.

"It doesn't matter what level you play at, a crowd can make a huge, huge difference... they give you that lift, they give you that level to go on to.

"You realise who you are playing for, you're playing for those people as well and they don't half make a difference."



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see also
Toshack backs Wales venue change
04 Sep 09 |  Welsh
Wales qualifier venue may change
25 Aug 09 |  Welsh
Wales 1-3 Russia
09 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Arshavin poised for Ramsey clash
07 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Bellamy received mix-up apology
08 Sep 09 |  Welsh
Toshack rues heavy losing margin
09 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Bellamy absence 'benefits' Wales
14 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Toshack receives Bellamy apology
11 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Bellamy to lead Wales after Giggs
31 May 07 |  Internationals
Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Internationals
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Feb 09 |  Wales


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