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Swansea and Newport fans given green light for semi-final ties

Swansea and Newport fans given green light for semi-final ties
© Reuters
Supporters have been prevented from entering stadiums in Wales since coronavirus restrictions began in March 2020.

The Welsh Government has confirmed that Swansea and Newport fans will be permitted to watch next week's EFL play-off semi-final ties.

The games will mark the first time supporters have been able to return to stadiums in Wales since coronavirus restrictions began in March 2020.

Newport will become the first Welsh sporting organisation to host fans, with 900 tickets made available for their Sky Bet League Two play-off home tie with Forest Green on May 18.

Swansea will have 3,000 fans present for their Championship play-off return leg with Barnsley on May 22.

EFL chief executive Trevor Birch said: "The EFL is delighted to note that supporters have been formally permitted to attend both Swansea City and Newport County's forthcoming Sky Bet play-off semi-final fixtures.

"Having fans present at each and every play-off fixture will be a welcome boost to all those connected to clubs and will bring back some of the magical play-off atmosphere that is a feature of the EFL's much loved season finale.

"We welcome the final confirmation that has now been provided and thank the Welsh Government, local authorities and all those who have been involved in getting fans back for these exciting ties.

Trevor Birch file photo
EFL chief executive Trevor Birch is delighted that fans are returning to Welsh stadiums for the first time since March 2020 (Mike Egerton/PA)

"Hopefully the insight gained from these fixtures and the Welsh Government's wider pilot programme will play an important role in getting fans in Wales back through the turnstiles in large numbers for the start of next season."

Both clubs will make tickets free of charge via a ballot system.

Swansea chief executive Julian Winter said: "As a football club we are absolutely delighted to be able to welcome supporters back to the Liberty Stadium for the first sporting pilot event in Wales.

"It is imperative that we show all stakeholders and governing bodies that we are in full control of this test event and we call on supporters who are successful in obtaining tickets that they follow all the instructions outlined.

"This is a momentous occasion for everyone associated with the club and I would like to thank everyone involved for getting it across the line at such short notice.

"We cannot wait to be reunited with our supporters for the first time since March 2020 and we hope that those supporters who are successful in the ballot have an enjoyable experience, because we've missed you all immensely."

Newport chairman Gavin Foxall said: "My thanks to our club staff, Rodney Parade and multiple stakeholders who have come together in a relatively short space of time to ensure our play-off fixture can operate as a pilot event for the safe return of fans."

The games are part of nine pilot test events in Wales announced by First Minister Mark Drakeford last month.

The series of test events include Wales' European Championship warm-up game against Albania at the Cardiff City Stadium on June 5, when 4,000 fans will be present, and the four-day LV= Insurance County Championship fixture between Glamorgan and Lancashire at Sophia Gardens.

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