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Page last updated at 11:52 GMT, Friday, 4 September 2009 12:52 UK

Toshack backs Wales venue change

World Cup 2010 qualifier Group Four - Wales v Russia
Venue: Millennium Stadium Date: Wednesday, 9 September KO: 1945 BST
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru, live text commentary and score updates online and score updates on BBC Radio 5 Live. Live on Sky Sports Extra

John Toshack
John Toshack replaced Mark Hughes as Wales boss in November 2004

John Toshack is backing a Football Association of Wales proposal to take some Welsh international qualifiers away from the Millennium Stadium.

The Wales manager admits Welsh players "feel more comfortable" playing games at Wales' smaller grounds.

The FAW's International Committee will discuss the proposal on 15 September to be ratified at their next full council.

"Maybe now is the time to sit down and analyse where we play our home qualifiers," Toshack told BBC Sport.

The Millennium Stadium has staged all of Wales' World Cup and European Championship qualifiers since 2000

The Welsh FA's proposal is to continue hosting the big qualifiers - such as Germany, Italy and England - at the Millennium Stadium.

But competitive games against lesser nations are set to be moved at the new £50m 26,500-capacity Cardiff City Stadium, the 20,500-capacity Liberty Stadium in Swansea and Llanelli's Parc y Scarlets, which holds 14,000.

Wales once averaged crowds of 73,000 and were the best supported nation in Europe when Mark Hughes' men narrowly missed out on qualifying for the 2004 European Championships.

But the Welsh national team have been in transition since the retirements of star players such as Gary Speed and Ryan Giggs and Wales' youngsters under Toshack's revolution have produced inconsistent performances.

The Millennium Stadium
We'd be quite happy if the Millennium Stadium was two-thirds empty as it is normally more empty than that

Wales boss John Toshack

Wales have enjoyed just one Millennium Stadium crowd of over 30,000 fans in their last 10 qualifiers and Toshack's team have played friendly games away from Cardiff's 74,500 capacity arena.

And Toshack told BBC Wales' Sport Wales television show: "We'd be quite happy if the Millennium Stadium was two-thirds empty as it is normally more empty than that.

"The problem is if we get over 26,000 fans there is no other ground in Wales we can use.

"Cardiff City's new ground holds 26,000 if you use the Germany match as an example as we'd played anywhere other than the Millennium Stadium then there would have been people left outside....maybe we should try and go down that road.

"There is no doubt that players or us generally feel more comfortable at these grounds than we do at the Millennium Stadium. That's not a criticism of anyone or an excuse - we just do."

Toshack also points to Wales' poor record at their qualifying home since their memorable 2-1 Euro 2004 qualifying win over Italy in October 2002.

Wales have lost nine and drawn five of their 21 games at the Millennium Stadium while their seven victories were against Scotland and six weaker nations as Liechtenstein, San Marino, Cyprus and Azerbaijan three times have been beaten in Cardiff.

"Before I took over, the last five games at the Millennium Stadium the side failed to win," Toshack recalled.

"So it is not a new thing, it has been coming since the win over Italy.

"Teams like the Czech Republic are not going to get 45,000 against us so they take us to places that will have a full house of 20,000-22,000 fans - and that suits them better.

"The Russia qualifier next Wednesday is our last competitive game at home for 12 months.


"So now we have two or three options and plenty of time before the start of the next competition it gives us enough time to get our heads together and look at possible alternatives.

Wales captain Craig Bellamy bemoaned the lack of Millennium Stadium atmosphere after 22,604 watched Wales' 2-0 defeat to Finland in April.

So moving some qualifiers away from the Millennium Stadium is to be on the agenda for the FAW's next International Committee meeting.

The Welsh FA are to end their Millennium Stadium qualifying season ticket initiative at the end of this campaign as the association considers taking Wales' qualifiers on tour.

Wales' final home 2010 World Cup qualifier against Russia on Wednesday, 9 September is to be their last guaranteed qualifier at the Millennium Stadium.

Wales used to play qualifiers at the old Ninian Park, the old Vetch Field and at the Racecourse before the FAW decided to make the most of the potential capacity of the Millennium Stadium in 2000.

The Welsh FA do not have to tell Uefa where they are to host their qualifying matches until 60 days before each fixture.

The Uefa 2012 European Championships qualifying draw will take place in Warsaw on 7 February.

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see also
Sport Wales: The TV programme
28 Sep 09 |  Wales
Wales 1-3 Russia
09 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Wales' venue change plan backed
27 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Wales qualifier venue may change
25 Aug 09 |  Welsh
Bellamy envious of Irish success
01 Apr 09 |  Internationals
Wales 0-2 Germany
01 Apr 09 |  Internationals
Wales 0-2 Finland
28 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Wales 2-0 Liechtenstein
11 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Wales 1-0 Azerbaijan
06 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Wales 2-2 Republic of Ireland
17 Nov 07 |  Internationals
Wales 0-2 Germany
08 Sep 07 |  Welsh
Wales 0-0 Czech Republic
02 Jun 07 |  Internationals
Wales unveil Toshack as new boss
12 Nov 04 |  Internationals
Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Welsh
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Welsh
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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Wales Online Delme Parfitt: No grounds for a blinkered view! - 2 hrs ago
The Scotsman Toshack eager to kick clear of national stadium - 34 hrs ago
Sky Sports Toshack won't miss Millennium - 41 hrs ago