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World Cup 2022: Turkey inspires Wales to consider renaming national team Cymru

Welsh football association weighs Cymru as new name of national team after talks with Turkey over its rebrand to Turkiye
Wales' striker Gareth Bale celebrates after winning the FIFA World Cup 2022 play-off final against Ukraine at the Cardiff City Stadium on 5 June 2022 (AFP)
Wales' striker Gareth Bale celebrates after winning the Fifa World Cup 2022 play-off final against Ukraine at the Cardiff City Stadium on 5 June 2022 (AFP)

Inspired by Turkey’s request to be renamed Turkiye in international tournaments, Wales is considering changing the name of its national football team to Cymru after the World Cup in Qatar. Cymru is the Welsh name for the nation, and used in all communications by staff at the Football Association of Wales (FAW). 

“The team should always be called Cymru, that’s what we call it here,” said Noel Mooney, chief executive of the FAW.

“Our view at the moment is that domestically we’re clearly called Cymru. That’s what we call our national teams. If you look at our website, how we talk about ourselves, we are very much Cymru.”

In January, Turkish officials told MEE that the government was set to make a request to the United Nations to have its internationally recognised official name in English changed to Turkiye. The rebrand was agreed by the UN in June. 

Turkey later asked to be renamed in international football tournaments, and is officially referred to as Turkiye for the Euro 2024 qualifying stages - where they were drawn in the same group as Wales. 

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“You’ve seen countries like Azerbaijan, Turkey and others use their own language. They’re quite strong on it and we spoke to the Turkish at the Euro 2024 draw about it,” said Mooney. 

“We’ve also had unofficial discussions with Uefa over coffees at different events. Asking how Turkey did this, how other countries did that.”

Mooney added that Wales would enter next month’s World Cup in Qatar as Wales, as there was “a bit more work to do yet” internationally on agreeing a name change. 

“I think 2023 will be a year when we have a good discussion with all the different stakeholders - governments, our own boards, councils and decision-making bodies, staff, club and players.”

Wales will compete at the World Cup, which kicks off on 20 November, in the same group as England, the United States and Iran

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