Provisionally known as the "Cambrian Football Association", the FAW was founded at a meeting held on 2 February 1876 at the Wynnstay Arms Hotel in Wrexham, initially to formalise the arrangements for the forthcoming match against Scotland.
In May 1876, a further meeting was called, this time in the ballroom of the identically named Wynnstay Arms Hotel in Ruabon where the name "Football Association of Wales" was agreed upon and the constitution was drawn up. The arguments and discussions continued so long that the local policeman came in to call time.
"Sadly we have no record of the words actually used by the police constable as he stood sternly surveying the scene in the Wynnstay Arms, Ruabon, on that May night in 1876; but what they amounted to was that even if the gentlemen were busy forming the Football Association of Wales it was past closing time so would they mind forming it somewhere else… "
The Wynnstay Arms Hotel, Ruabon, where the constitution of the FAW was agreed upon.
Fortunately, Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn was in attendance; as the local JP (and also the sitting Member of Parliament), he went next door, opened the court, extended the hotel's licensing hours and thus enabled the meeting to continue. The meeting ended with Llewelyn Kenrick appointed as the first chairman and honorary secretary with John Hawley Edwards as first treasurer.
Kenrick continued to serve the FAW until 1884, when he left, probably because of the trend towards professionalism. In 1897, when the FAW secretary was charged with fraud, Kenrick returned to guide the association through the crisis. He made the final break a few months later over the minor issue of the allocation of gate money to Welsh Cup semi-finalists and finalists.
The FAW is responsible for the administration of football in Wales, running the six international teams - namely the "A", "Under 21", "Under 19", "Under 17", "Women's", "Women's Under 19", Women's Under 17 and Semi-Professional.
The FAW is also responsible for all disciplinary actions against players in teams associated with the FAW. This includes Welsh teams playing within the English football pyramid, superseding the English FA disciplinary system with the exception of Cardiff City and Swansea City A.F.C..
The FAW is based at Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff.
It is governed by a council including nineteen councillors who are either elected, or appointed every three years.
In 2012 chief executive Jonathan Ford claimed the FAW had an income of £14 million, funded from FIFA, UEFA, grants, sponsorship and TV revenue. All finances were spent on the further development of the game.
In April 2013 Dragon Park, the Wales National Football Development Centre, was opened in Newport.