Sports

Fans can return to football games, rugby matches and sports events in Wales as Parkrun able to resume

Sports fans have been given the long-awaited green light to return to live events in Wales in their thousands.

From Monday, June 7 , large, outdoor, organised gatherings and events – like football and rugby matches, concerts and sporting activities – can go ahead for up to 4,000 people non-seated and 10,000 people seated.

This means parkrun events and other organised running groups can also resume activity.

The Welsh Government said all organisers planning events and activities must complete a risk assessment and also put in place measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including social distancing.

This latest announcement from the Welsh Government comes as First Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed Wales would follow a phased move into coronavirus alert level one, with outdoor events opening first.

This opens the door for fans to attend the Under-20s Six Nations, which is being staged exclusively in Cardiff between June 19 and July 13 at Cardiff Arms Park.

Three of the four Welsh rugby regions are in action for the final round of the PRO14 Rainbow Cup on the weekend of June 12 – the first weekend after the rule change – but only two are on home soil, to be followed by a ‘North v South’ final in Treviso, Italy, a week later.

Ospreys host Benetton on Saturday, June 12, at the Brewery Field in Bridgend and the Scarlets host Edinburgh on Sunday, June 13, at Parc y Scarlets. While those regions will be able to welcome fans, it will be at their discretion and they may decide to postpone fans’ return until the new season given they will have little more than a week’s notice to prepare. The Dragons face Leinster away in Dublin on Friday, June 11.

As for football, Wales Women host Scotland in a friendly at Parc y Scarlets on Tuesday, June 15. News on whether fans will be able to attend will come directly from the Football Association of Wales.

Swansea City, Cardiff City and Newport County will all resume action when the new season begins on the weekend of August 7.

The latest easing of coronavirus restrictions in Wales with regards to sports events will mean fans can return to live fixtures en masse for the first time since March, 2020.

Other rule changes coming in from June 7 include up to 30 people will be able to meet outdoors in Wales, while social distancing,

Ministers are set to review the public health situation again ahead of June 21 to determine whether indoor events can resume. Government officials say a two-stage approach allows for more people to be vaccinated.

Further changes on indoor activity to be considered later in June include increased numbers for indoor events and the re-opening of ice skating rinks.

Mr Drakeford said: “I want to thank everyone in Wales for everything they have done to control the spread of coronavirus and keep rates low. The emergence of the delta variant (also known as Indian variant) shows the pandemic is not over yet and we all need to continue to take steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

“The risk of infection is significantly less outdoors than it is indoors. This is why we are phasing in the changes in this three-week cycle. This will allow more people to enjoy events outdoors and take advantage of the Welsh summer, while we continue to roll out the vaccination programme to all adults.

“We will review the public health situation again in a couple of weeks to see whether we can continue to relax the restrictions and restart indoor events.”

It comes after several crowd pilot events were staged at Welsh sports matches in recent weeks, with some test events yet to take place.

They include:

  • Newport County’s League Two play-off semi-final against Forest Green Rovers at Rodney Parade on May 18, where around 900 fans were in attendance.
  • Four days later, Swansea City fans returned to the Liberty Stadium for the first time in 14 months to watch their team beat Barnsley to make it to the Championship play-off final at Wembley. Around 3,000 Swans fans were present on May 22 at the Liberty.
  • Glamorgan v Lancashire at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff between June 3-6 will welcome between 750-1,000 spectators.
  • Wales football fans are set to return to their first live match on Saturday, June 5, when 6,500 spectators will watch Gareth Bale and Co. in action as they take on Albania in the final match before Euro 2020 begins.
  • The Fishguard Triathlon is also being staged on June 11-12, with registered participants only at Fishguard and St David’s.

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