Sporting events in Wales will be played indoor from Boxing Day in a bid to tackle the growth of the Omicron variant.
The Welsh government stated the new measures are applicable to both indoor and outdoor sporting events, with Vaughan Gething, economy minister vouching a £3m “Spectator Sports Fund” will assist clubs and venues affected.
The decision comes following a number of delays affecting Welsh sides in the Football League.
Cardiff City have cancelled their Boxing Day match facing Coventry City because of several Covid-19 cases among their players and staff, whilst Newport County will no longer face League Two leaders Forest Green.
In the United Rugby Championship, Cardiff Blues are arranged to play Scarlets at Cardiff Arms Park on Boxing Day, although Ospreys versus Dragons at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea has been cancelled due to Covid.
“Sporting events over the Christmas period are one of the big highlights of the year,” Gething stated.
“Unfortunately, the new Omicron variant is a significant development in the pandemic and could cause a large number of infections.”
“We need to do everything we can to protect people’s health and control the spread of this awful virus.”
“Throughout the pandemic we have followed scientific and public health advice to keep people safe. The advice is clear – we need to act now in response to the threat of omicron. We are giving people as much notice of these decisions as we can.”
“Crowds will come back as soon as possible. We want everyone to be here to enjoy their favourite sports.”
Latest figures depicts Omicron cases are augmenting in all parts of Wales, whilst the overall rate of coronavirus infections is at just under 550 cases per 1,00,000 people.