The Welsh Rugby Union have confirmed they won’t be playing any of their remaining 2020 fixtures at the Principality Stadium, outlining instead that any behind closed doors games will be played at an alternative venue in Wales.
However, they admitted they are also investigating the hiring of stadiums in London should the UK government restrictions currently preventing fans from attending sports stadiums be lifted by the time of the refixed Guinness Six Nations match versus Scotland and other planned Test matches.
That sold-out Principality Wales game against the Scots was postponed at the eleventh hour last March and WRU officials have now begun issuing ticket refunds, an action that mirrors the recent decision by Irish rugby officials who have been issuing ticket refunds for their Aviva Stadium Six Nations back match versus Italy.
Writing in his latest pandemic status update, WRU chairman Martyn Phillips said: “There has been much commentary in relation to the men’s autumn series fixtures. The reality is we continue to juggle a number of unknowns.
“While we expect to replay our postponed Guinness Six Nations 2020 fixture with Scotland, the competition format and opposition for additional autumn games are yet to be agreed.
CEO Martyn Phillips confirms there will be no matches @principalitysta until the New Year, plus an important message for ??holders for Wales’ postponed final round 2020 @SixNationsRugby clash with @Scotlandteam… and more in latest WRU Status Update:
— Welsh Rugby Union ? (@WelshRugbyUnion) July 22, 2020
“We hope for news on these fixtures in the coming weeks, but in the meantime have initiated a process to provide refund, credit or donate options to all existing ticket holders for the Scotland game – more details of which can be found below.
“What is certain is that we will not be playing any home games at Principality Stadium. Our decision to step in to provide a location for a surge hospital at the height of the pandemic, along with the scale of the investment to construct the Dragon’s Heart hospital in the stadium, has meant that we have agreed in principle to extend the hospital until the autumn.
“We have yet to finalise a contract on the extension, as this time it is a little more complex and there are a number of circumstances that need to be covered. We hope to sign the contract shortly.
“Assuming games are staged this autumn, if restrictions mean that we are playing behind closed doors those games are likely to be staged in Wales and we are exploring a range of options.
“If the games can be staged with crowds in some form those games are likely to be in and around London. Again, we are exploring a range of options. The most difficult scenario will be if games are allowed with crowds in England but not in Wales.
“There are clearly a range of risks here not least Welsh fans leaving Wales to attend a game and then returning. Clearly, this risk also occurs for away games. We very much hope that by the autumn, restrictions – whatever they are in relation to sports events – are aligned across the UK.”
Wales union boss Davies continued: “On a more optimistic footing, we plan to be back playing at the Principality Stadium, hopefully in front of full crowds against England and Ireland in the Guinness Six Nations in February 2021.
“In terms of other stadium events, 2021 has the potential to very busy as promoters and acts look to return the stage after 2020 was wiped out for large events. We also hope to have our Westgate Hotel open during the second part of next year.
“We have inevitably experienced delays but I’m pleased to say these have thus far been kept to a minimum and we are looking forward to adding the hotel to the event day experience at the stadium.”
Exact times and dates released for the comeback action in Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales https://t.co/xOQthYszfy
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 22, 2020
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now