Wrexham’s MS slams ‘misinformation’ over lack of local pilot event – “there needs to be a willingness to participate from all parties”
Wrexham’s MS has targeted ‘misinformation’ in the debate on trial sporting events not including Wrexham AFC, while also noting “there needs to be a willingness to participate from all parties”.
Yesterday morning we reported on the range of pilot events planned and noted no events were in the north, but did include some footballing backwaters such as Newport.
The aim of the pilots has been explained as to help ‘develop processes and guidance’ on how to hold events with coronavirus mitigation, and therefore ‘hopefully allow larger gatherings back to stadia, theatres and other venues in Wales later this year’.
There has been a strong reaction locally from some Wrexham AFC fans who questioned why the Racecourse will not be hosting a trial event with a crucial game against Notts County ruled out in a club statement.
By the afternoon a petition had been started by recent Plaid Cymru Senedd candidate Carrie Harper, calling on Welsh Government “to allow fans into The Racecourse on May 18th for the game v Notts County”, adding “All we want is a bit of fair play for the North – the Welsh Government has announced these pilots for open-air events, which is very welcome, but they’re all south of the M4. Why on earth are we still having to battle for a bit of chwarae teg and to allow at least some Wrexham fans to watch their team before the end of the season?”
Welsh Conservatives also highlighted the issue with Andrew Davies MS saying, “It’s pleasing to see spectator trials given the green light, but ministers should correct the one glaring error in the plan and ensure there are pilots in North Wales, not just concentrated in the South.”
Wrexham’s newly elected Member of the Senedd, Lesley Griffiths says she has raised the issue with the First Minister and told Wrexham.com today: “The sniping from the side-lines and misinformation circulating largely on social media has been extremely disappointing. Many online seem to have jumped to their own conclusions without knowing all the facts.”
“Peddling the myth that ‘nothing happens in North Wales’ is tiresome and wrong. Test events have taken place at Theatr Clwyd in Mold and are scheduled to take place on Anglesey. Just last month, Wrexham AFC received a £100,000 grant from the Welsh Government after it was excluded from UK Government support to help offset some of the losses caused by the pandemic.”
Clarity from a local footballing angle was also given, “From a footballing perspective, the Welsh Government has granted special dispensation for teams in the playoffs to allow fans to return as part of these latest test events. The major difference is Newport and Swansea have already guaranteed their playoff positions. Wrexham still have four games left to play and I sincerely hope the team secures their spot.”
Wrexham.com had heard that locally the club were lacklustre in attempts to get an immediate trial fixture off the ground, with Lesley Griffiths hinting it does take two to tango, “I have been informed discussions have taken place between Welsh Government officials, Wrexham AFC and the Local Authority regarding a possible playoff match. Should a playoff match take place at the Racecourse, I’m led to believe it is highly likely it will be a test event, but there needs to be a willingness to participate from all parties, not just the Welsh Government.”
“I have also been informed there will be further announcements on Friday regarding the return of spectators to live events.”
“We all want to put Covid behind us but the fact is we’re still living with the virus. We must not lose sight of the larger picture. These special events are trials, tests to check venues can cope with the added responsibilities and to ensure it is safe for people to return to major events. The Welsh Labour Government’s cautious handling of the pandemic has thankfully got us to this promising stage. For certain political opponents to play games by initiating pointless petitions at a time of national crisis is unwise, and certainly not appreciated by the wider public.”
The football club issued a statement on Monday that noted, “The Vanarama National League has today outlined plans for the anticipated return of spectators for fixtures. Wrexham AFC are still awaiting specific guidance from the Welsh Government, and can confirm there will be no supporters admitted to the game against Notts County on Tuesday May 18.”
“As the Welsh Government has taken a different approach to that in England regarding the safe return of supporters to football matches, it is unlikely fans will be attend on May 22 against King’s Lynn Town either.”
“Wrexham AFC are continuing to liaise with the relevant authorities and will update supporters on the situation when we can.”
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