As restrictions for outdoor spectator sports move to alert level zero this weekend, the first phase of the Welsh Government’s £3 million Spectator Sports Fund is now being allocated, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, Dawn Bowden, has confirmed.
When Ministers announced the introduction of alert level two restrictions on 21 December to combat the Omicron variant in Wales, which included playing sports behind closed doors from 26 December, a £3 million Spectator Sports Fund was simultaneously announced to support the sector.
The first phase, covering the period from 26 December to 9 January, is now being allocated. It provides funding of more than £1 million to football, rugby union, and ice hockey fixtures that have taken place over that period and three horseracing meetings.
The Deputy Minister, said:
“The spread of the omicron variant over Christmas meant measures had to be introduced to keep Wales safe, which included sporting events taking place behind closed doors. Of course, this was a disappointment to many, but we were hopeful to get crowds back as soon as it was safe to do so.
“With the improving public health data, we now have the confidence to get everyone back to enjoying their favourite sport once more.
“Throughout the pandemic sport has been severely affected, which is why we acted quickly to deliver the Spectator Sports Fund to the sports which would suffer a hit to their revenue as a result of the alert level 2 measures. I’m pleased that this funding is now being allocated and will help clubs and venues to survive the difficult winter, as they also welcome crowds back for the first time this year.
Phil Bell, Executive Director of Chepstow and Ffos Las Racecourses, said:
"We are extremely grateful that the Welsh Government has recognised the significant financial impact felt by our business due to the lack of spectators at our fixtures in December and January most notably the Coral Welsh Grand National when more than 10,000 customers were expected to attend. It’s the biggest meeting in our calendar and clearly critical in terms of our revenues. We would like to thank the Welsh Government for their support.
Todd Kelman, CEO of the Cardiff Devils, said:
“Without this support from Welsh Government, we would be out of business. This funding allows us to get through a difficult period for Wales and to follow the guidelines to keep people safe. I want to thank the Welsh Government for ensuring the survival of our team and the other professional sports that have also been impacted.
The second phase of the £3 million fund will be allocated to other fixtures and race meetings held between 10 January and 20 January and indoor fixtures until the 28 January.