Wales forced to move England Autumn Nations Cup clash from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to Llanelli with lockdown rules meaning WRU are set to miss out on vital revenue with fans still shut out
- The Welsh Rugby Union were forced to scrap plans to play at Tottenham’s ground
- They were keen to maximise revenue if socially-distanced fans were allowed in
- But with no government green light the WRU have now reverted to their plan B
- Wales will instead face their old foes England at Parc y Scarlets on November 28
Wales will host England behind-closed-doors in Llanelli, it has been confirmed, after lockdown rules meant the WRU had to scrap a plan to play at Tottenham.
If socially-distanced fans were allowed the Welsh union were keen to stage the ‘home’ game at Spurs’ new ground to maximise revenue.
But with no government go-ahead for a significant number to attend sporting matches Wales have reverted to plan B and will face their old foes at Parc y Scarlets on November 28.
Wales will host England behind closed doors in Llanelli on November 28, it has been confirmed
The move confirms that the WRU will miss out on more vital revenue. Cardiff home matches make the union several million pounds in normal times – but now there will be no money made from games, aside from broadcast deals with Amazon Prime, S4C and the BBC.
Wayne Pivac’s men are already facing Scotland, in the Six Nations finale, as well as Georgia in the Autumn Nations Cup, at the regional ground but on Monday announced the England game and final placing match in the new competition will be played there too.
The Principality Stadium is ruled out as it still acts as Dragon’s Heart hospital due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wayne Pivac’s men are facing Scotland in the Six Nations finale and Georgia at Parc y Scarlets
‘It is no secret that more than three-quarters of the annual income which supports Welsh Rugby at all levels comes directly from our international game and specifically from hosting Wales matches in front of capacity crowds,’ said WRU CEO Steve Phillips.
‘That is why we made contingency plans to play matches in London and why we have waited as long as possible before resigning ourselves to the prospect of playing ‘behind closed doors’ in Wales.
‘This news, however inevitable it may have become during recent days, is a financial set back, but it has not been unforeseen and measures have been and will be taken to mitigate for our losses.
Lockdown restrictions meant the Welsh Rugby Union had to scrap a plan to play at Tottenham
‘Of course we understand there is a bigger picture at play and the health of the nation and its individuals, which include our supporters, players, administrators and the many volunteers in our game throughout the country, must come first.
‘On a positive note we are delighted that the international game returned this week, that the 2020 Six Nations Championship will finally be concluded and that we have an exciting Autumn Nations Cup tournament ahead of us.
‘We know the nation will be tuning in en masse and will be with us at Parc y Scarlets in spirit if not in person and we look forward to the day when we will all be able to gather together once again in more familiar circumstances at Principality Stadium.
Wales have reverted to plan B and will face their old foes at home instead in late November
‘Whilst it is disappointing to play these matches without supporters we would like to thank all of those who follow, support and participate in Welsh Rugby and our partners for their patience during these hugely challenging times.
‘We are of course also hugely grateful to the staff at Parc y Scarlets and the Board of the Scarlets for accommodating us for these four important matches.’
Scarlets Chief Operating Officer Phil Morgan added: ‘A huge amount of work has gone in behind the scenes from the staff at the Welsh Rugby Union and here at Parc y Scarlets and we are honoured to be the home for the national side for the entire autumn campaign. We look forward to welcoming Wayne and the team here this weekend for what promises to be a hugely entertaining first match against Scotland.’