All sporting events in Wales to be played behind closed doors from Boxing Day to help combat growing Covid cases

All sporting events in Wales to be played behind closed doors from Boxing Day to help combat growing Covid cases

December 21, 2021

ALL sporting events in Wales will be played behind closed doors from Boxing Day.

The continued surge in Covid cases across the country has led the Welsh Government to put in place the blanket ban.

The current rate is just under 550 cases per 100,000 people as the Omicron variant causes chaos.

Economy minister Vaughan Gething said: “Sporting events over the Christmas period are one of the big highlights of the year.

"Unfortunately, the new Omicron variant is a significant development in the pandemic and could cause a large number of infections.

“We need to do everything we can to protect people’s health and control the spread of this awful virus.

"The advice is clear – we need to act now in response to the threat of Omicron. We are giving people as much notice of these decisions as we can.

“Crowds will come back as soon as possible. We want everyone to be here to enjoy their favourite sports.”

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A £3million Spectator Sports Fund is being made available to clubs and venues affected by the latest restrictions, which are being reviewed 'regularly'.

The ruling, announced at midnight, will affect various sports including football, rugby union and horse racing.

Cardiff City were due to host Coventry on Boxing Day but that game has already been called off due to Covid cases in the Bluebirds' squad.

Similarly, Newport County vs Forest Green Rovers is also off while Swansea fans can make the trip to South London to watch their side take on Millwall.

But they will not be permitted entry when they host Luton three days later.

Both Cardiff and Swansea have home ties in the FA Cup third round which will now be played with empty stands.

The crunch United Rugby Championship clash between Cardiff Blues and Scarlets on Boxing Day is also affected, while the other Welsh derby between Ospreys and Dragons is already off.

More than 6,000 tickets had been sold for Monday's Welsh Grand National at Chepstow – but the turnstiles will not open for that, either.

In England, however, things are continuing as planned for the time being.

The Premier League clubs voted against a festive circuit breaker on Monday.

Teams will have to fulfil a fixture as long as they have 13 outfield players and one goalkeeper available for selection – with Under-23s players drafted in as cover if necessary.

But reports in The Times suggest the top flight could follow Wales' lead with matches played behind closed doors again soon.

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