Wales NHS Covid pass: New rules introduced for Welsh sporting stadiums – BBC News

Wales' World Cup qualifier against Estonia in September was their first at the Cardiff City Stadium without crowd restrictions since 2019
Wales’ World Cup qualifier against Estonia in September was their first at the Cardiff City Stadium without crowd restrictions since 2019

Supporters at many sporting events in Wales this weekend will need to show an NHS Covid pass or recent negative test.

As of 11 October, anyone over 18 must show the pass to prove they are fully vaccinated or have a negative lateral flow within the last 48 hours.

The Welsh Rugby Union has warned fans are “highly likely to be refused entry” to Autumn Internationals without proof.

Dragons’ United Rugby Championship match against Stormers on Friday night will be the first match affected.

That game at Rodney Parade will be followed by Cardiff’s home game against Sharks on Saturday while there will be a horse racing meeting at Ffos Las.

“A Covid Pass will be required for all race meetings at Chepstow and Ffos Las,” said Phil Bell, executive director Chepstow and Ffos Las racecourses.

“The first fixture under the new guidelines is the Potter Group Welsh Champion Hurdle meeting at Ffos Las on Saturday 16 October and we have a communication plan in place to ensure all customers are aware of the requirements for entry.

“At this stage, it’s hard to gauge the impact of the introduction of Covid passes but similar rules have applied at numerous events across the UK in recent months without any negative impact on the customer experience.

“We are confident that this will be the case at both racecourses.”

The rules apply to venues with outdoor no-seating events of more than 4,000 people and any event with more than 10,000 people, including sporting events.

Grounds in Wales with a capacity of less than 10,000 can be affected if they have a combination of seating and standing.

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Football and the South Wales Derby

South Wales derby
The last South Wales Derby, won by Cardiff City, was played in front of no fans due to Covid-19 rules at the time

The first Swansea City fixture where the new rules apply will be the Welsh derby with Cardiff City on Sunday, 17 October.

“The NHS Covid pass is Welsh legislation and therefore we are legally bound to comply,” Swansea City said in a statement on their website.

“This will encompass all supporters, regardless of their vaccination status and will be enforced by the club.”

The rules also apply to those coming to Wales with visiting fans expected to abide by the rules with West Brom visiting Swansea in the Championship on 20 October.

Cardiff say turnstiles will open 30 minutes earlier than usual for all their forthcoming home games “to support procedure” regarding Covid passes, starting against Middlesbrough on Saturday, 23 October.

The Bluebirds will use portable fencing to create an “outer security perimeter” at each entry gate with fans asked to present proof of their Covid status.

Newport County have also said fans will need to comply with the rules for their League Two home game against Carlisle United, at Rodney Parade on Tuesday, 19 October.

Wrexham’s National League game against Torquay on Saturday, 30 October will be the first time the Racecourse venue will require the new regulations.

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Regional rugby and Autumn Internationals

Wales v New Zealand
Wales’ last autumn international against New Zealand was back in November 2017

Scarlets supporters will be required to present an NHS Covid pass for the first time at their home match against Benetton on Friday, 22 October.

“The Covid passes have been introduced as legislation to ensure those who attend mass gatherings in Wales are able to enjoy their experience in a safe environment,” said Scarlets chief operating officer Phil Morgan.

“We are urging fans to either download the pass or apply for a paper one as soon as they can before our game against Benetton on 22 October.”

Ospreys supporters will not be affected until they have a crowd of 10,000 because the Swansea.com stadium they share with Swansea City is an all-seater arena.

Wales face four autumn internationals with New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji and Australia visiting Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. The opening All Blacks fixture on Saturday, 30 October is already a 74,500 sell-out.

WRU bosses say a visual spot-check will be in operation and entry could be denied into the stadium without an NHS Covid Pass proof of an email or text with a negative lateral flow test result on request.

“We cannot stress strongly enough that supporters need to ensure that they arrive at the ground with the necessary NHS Covid Pass or relevant text or email,” said Principality Stadium manager Mark Williams.

“We are looking forward to welcoming supporters back to the stadium with open arms, this is a homecoming and an opportunity to finally gather together in celebration of our national sport.

“That’s why it is so important to get the message out to everyone ahead of time – if you can’t prove you meet legal requirements you will miss the game.

“Our full refund policy remains in place for supporters who are prevented from attending by a positive Covid test or associated restrictions, but if you have taken no action prior to matchday, you’re highly likely to be refused entry.”

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