Wales are exploring option of playing Six Nations home games IN ENGLAND due to Covid regulations stating sports events must be played behind closed doors – with London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium a leading contender
- In Wales, sporting events must currently be played behind closed doors
- Wales have three 2022 Six Nations home games and no crowds would be disastrous for the Welsh Rugby Union
- Sportsmail understands WRU bosses have already begun looking into plans
- London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium could be a leading contender
The Welsh Rugby Union are exploring contingency plans which could involve Wales playing their Six Nations home games in England as Covid-19 threatens to cause a chaotic start to the championship.
Wayne Pivac’s side hosted their four 2021 autumn matches in front of capacity crowds at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. But on Boxing Day, Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford introduced new rules which meant sporting events were forced to go behind closed doors.
Playing Wales’ three 2022 Six Nations home games with no crowds would be disastrous for the WRU who are reeling from the devastating financial impact caused by the pandemic.
Wales could play their Six Nations home games in England due to current Covid-19 rules
Wayne Pivac’s side hosted their four 2021 autumn matches in front of capacity crowds
Sportsmail understands WRU bosses have already begun looking into playing their Six Nations games against Scotland, France and Italy in England where crowds are allowed.
London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium could be a leading contender to host Wales matches if required, given the two parties have previously been in talks.
Wembley sources have indicated it would not be feasible for Wales to play at the home of English football in February due to England matches taking place in the March international break.
With Omicron rates surging in Wales, the WRU have two choices — play with no or partial crowds in Cardiff or relocate the games.
London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium could be a leading contender to host Wales matches
The WRU lost out on revenue of close to £14million last year when their Six Nations home ties against Ireland and England were held in an empty Principality Stadium.
With three home matches this year, a repeat scenario is unthinkable for chief executive Steve Phillips. It is also unlikely any Six Nations games will be postponed due to the packed rugby calendar.
WRU sources have indicated to Sportsmail that they would be foolish not to be looking at all the available options. And that is why the possibility of moving games to England is being considered once again despite the severe logistical challenges it would bring.
The WRU lost out on revenue of close to £14million last year when their Six Nations home ties against Ireland and England were held in an empty Principality Stadium
Wales’ first Six Nations home game against Scotland in round two is scheduled for February 12, just 38 days away. Tottenham are due to play Wolverhampton Wanderers at home on Sunday, February 13.
In September 2020, WRU chiefs were shown around Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with a view to potentially hosting Wales’ Autumn Nations Cup games at the London venue.
Such a scenario did not materialise that year because of a change in Covid rules, but at the time of the visit, crowds were permitted in England and not Wales.
In England, capacity crowds are allowed so long as fans show proof of vaccination status or a negative lateral flow test. No fans are allowed in Wales and in Scotland the numbers are limited to 500 for outdoor events. In Ireland and France, crowds can be no more than 5,000.
Wales’ Dan Biggar has already expressed his desire for crowds to be allowed for Six Nations
The WRU are in regular contact with the Welsh Government in the hope that Covid-19 rules could change. Further meetings are planned in the next two days.
Drakeford is poised to give an update on Friday and leading Wales star Dan Biggar has already expressed his desire for crowds to be allowed.
‘I hope for an event like the Six Nations and for the game up and down the UK moving forward, we get some sort of sensible outcome,’ the Northampton fly-half said. ‘As long as everyone is safe and double-jabbed then I think it makes sense to keep crowds in.’