Call to allow fans to watch games in a responsible and managed way
Welsh Government rules on football are “entirely absurd” according to a Plaid Cymru MS, who has called for fans to be allowed to watch matches in a “responsible and managed way”.
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales MS, made an impassioned plea in the Senedd for fans to be allowed to watch their teams play and cited the “farcical” situation where fans were banned from attending the ground but were able to watch from some clubhouses or on the TV in pubs.
Mr Gruffydd asked the Deputy Minister for sport for a statement on the serious challenges facing the highest levels of football in Wales: “Welsh Premier League games are, of course, played behind closed doors these days, and that places huge financial strain on these clubs and that’s not sustainable without either allowing a proportion of supporters to attend those games, or to provide financial support.
“Government policy says at the moment that you can’t go into a stadium to watch a game standing in the open air, socially distanced, but you can go to the pub to watch the same game or, in some circumstances, you can go to the clubhouse at the stadium where the game is being played and watch the game through the window. That is the situation that the Welsh Government policy leaves us in at the moment. It’s a complete farce. It would be far safer to allow some supporters to attend those games in a responsible and managed way.”
Mr Gruffydd added: “At the same time Tier 2 clubs in the Cymru North and Cymru South leagues can’t play at all, despite a number of the players being semi-professional, just as they are in the Welsh Premier League; despite the clubs having to meet the Football Association of Wales’s criteria to get their Tier 2 licence; despite many of the Tier 2 grounds, where Tier 2 teams aren’t allowed to play, meeting the same criteria as the Tier 1 grounds, which are allowed to play, and despite some of those Tier 2 grounds being used for Welsh Premiership Women’s football, who are also allowed to play!
“This policy is all over the place and I want the Deputy Minister to explain the rationale, because in my view and the view of many others, this is entirely absurd.”
Mr Gruffydd said later that he had been approached by club representatives in the North who were hugely concerned at the future viability of their clubs going forward and urged the deputy minister to act swiftly.