Welsh football crowds to be capped at 100 in a gradual return for spectators
The Football Association of Wales today announced plans for spectators to return to their matches.
The Welsh government announced on Friday that crowds could return to sports stadiums from June 7, delaying 4,000 spectators when not seated and 10,000 when seated.
The Welsh football governing body has responded to the news by allowing up to 100 people to attend training sessions and matches for juniors and youth.
For adult football, however, clubs will not be able to immediately admit spectators for their preseason friendlies, despite initial guidelines from the Welsh government.
The FAW has chosen to make a phased return for spectator return and over the next fifteen weeks will host a series of pilot events that will help prepare its member clubs to acclimate to COVID-19 restrictions.
FAW bosses have taken the decision to create their own try-out events following the rejection of their national matches by the Welsh government.
Barry Town United, Caernarfon Town and Penybont had all campaigned to allow spectators to attend their play-offs, but they were ignored and events unfolded in Newport County and Swansea City.
Explaining their decision to hold test events first, the FAW said: “There are many considerations for clubs and it is important that they are tested in a match environment, prior to a larger deployment.
“These include entering and exiting the stadium through turnstiles, management of traffic lanes, temperature tests and medical questionnaires, spectator code of conduct, ticketing, monitoring and traceability,” providing refreshments, maintaining social distance and protecting players.
“It’s to encourage social distancing at all times. Attending football matches is a fundamental part of the sport and it is important that people feel safe and comfortable at all times, while ensuring that the risk of spread is minimized.
All Welsh football clubs will initially have a cap of 100, however clubs can apply individually to allow more.
Clubs will request a visit from FAW staff members to visit their field where requested team members demonstrate this could allow more fans, while ensuring that social distancing could be respected at all times.
The experience for fans when they are allowed to return will be different from when they last attended a game in March 2020.
Fans will be allowed to wear face masks, undergo a temperature check, as well as complete a daily medical questionnaire that would see them agree to a COVID-19 spectator code of conduct.
As a result, football clubs may be inclined to sell ticket allowances online, which could end the possibility of a walk-in crowd.
(Featured Image: Lewis Mitchell)