Welsh Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, has announced that from 26 December, sporting events are to be played ‘behind closed doors’ throughout the country.
In a bid to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, the new measures for indoor and outdoor sporting events follow the latest figures in a rise of the new omicron variant.
After regarding sports events over the Christmas period as a ‘highlight of the year’, Gething explained: “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.”
He also confirmed that a £3 million Spectator Sports Fund will be provided to support clubs and sporting venues affected by the new measures to protect public health.
“Throughout the pandemic we have followed scientific and public health advice to keep people safe. 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,” Gething continued.
“Crowds will come back as soon as possible. We want everyone to be here to enjoy their favourite sports.”
Some football clubs have already announced that Christmas matches have been postponed because of cases of coronavirus within the teams. For example, Cardiff City FC’s Boxing Day match against Coventry City has been delayed, and League Two side Forest Green will no longer be playing Newport County.
Outside of football, Ospreys vs Dragons at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea has also been called off in the United Rugby Championship.
In horse racing, Chepstow Racecourse announced that fixtures until mid-January will also be run behind closed doors, without spectators, including the Coral Welsh Grand National.