Welsh Government make decision which could impact both Bristol City and Rovers

Fans of Cardiff, Newport, Swansea and Wrexham won’t be able to watch their team. (Photo by Cardiff City FC/Getty Images)Fans of Cardiff, Newport, Swansea and Wrexham won’t be able to watch their team. (Photo by Cardiff City FC/Getty Images)
Fans of Cardiff, Newport, Swansea and Wrexham won’t be able to watch their team. (Photo by Cardiff City FC/Getty Images) | Getty Images
Fans in Wales will have to go back to watching teams on streams rather than stadiums after the government banned spectators.

The Welsh Government has implemented new measures that will see all sporting fixtures played behind closed doors from Boxing Day.

Wales, which has the lowest COVID transmission rate in the United Kingdom, have implemented the restrictions to minimise the spread of the Omicron variant.

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Cardiff, Newport and Swansea City will all now have to play without a home crowd until there is a change in the ruling, though they will be able to get money from a Spectators Sports Fund.

It is a decision that won’t affect Bristol clubs for the immediate future but may be a sign of things to come should rules change across the Severn Bridge.

"Sporting events over the Christmas period are one of the big highlights of the year," economy minister Vaughan Gething said.

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

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

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

Bristol City are due to play Swansea City at the Swansea.com Stadium on Sunday 13 February, meanwhile for Bristol Rovers they aren’t scheduled to play Newport County until Saturday 5 March.

The government in Wales however have been stricter on rules compared to their English counterparts when it comes to COVID measures and depending on the situation, could face a longer wait to return to the stands.

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Unlike England, who had a phased return for spectators, fans across the border did not return through the turnstiles until May 2021 following the first two waves of COVID-19.

It means that there could be a restriction on both sets of Bristol fans attending matches when making the short trip across to Wales when the matches are scheduled to take place.

The decision in Wales could also prompt English officials to make changes, though no decision has been made yet by the Government.

Parent website National World reported that there are rumours of England returning to Step 2 restrictions for at least a two-week period which would see fans shut out again.

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Despite what has happened in Wales, Bristol City CEO Richard Gould believes that stadiums should remain open to spectators after the recent introduction of passports to stadia above 10,000 spectators.

Currently fans in England can attend matches but are required to show proof of full vaccination or or evidence of a negative lateral flow test 48 hours before the match. This was conducted for the first time in Bristol on Saturday in their match with Huddersfield Town with 18,169 fans attending.

“If you went to a football game over the weekend you were either double jabbed or you’d have a negative test, so to me that puts you in a very safe space,” Gould said when appearing on BBC Radio 5 Live.

“I’m trying to follow the logic of arguments with regards to closing down sports stadia thereafter because there are lots of other sectors or areas who are operating currently without Covid certification.

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“I’m not saying others need to carry the can, but neither should we carry the can.

“When decisions are made they need to be made logically otherwise people will lose confidence in the decision making.

“In the event that crowds are stopped from going to sports stadia, as we’ve seen in Wales, how long is that going to go on for, what is the plan thereafter and is that decision consistent with what’s going on in the rest of society?

“We’ve got Covid certification in sports stadia, we are sitting outside, and you just want to be treated fairly across everything else that’s going on within the community.”

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