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FSA Cymru update: June 2021

Welcome to FSA Cymru’s June update which looks ahead to the European Championships for Wales fans, fans embassies and more…

Still after nearly 18 months we find ourselves constrained by the COVID-19 pandemic, but thankfully the vaccines are now working well, and millions have received one dose, and many have had the two. 

This is our path back to normality and although too late for EURO 2020, Baku and Rome, some of us can at least attend the Albania game, albeit with limited numbers and strict COVID-secure protocols in place including PCR testing.

Albania Home

This game was proposed as a test event and after a lot of hard work and many hoops to jump through the local authorities finally agreed to a 6,500 attendance. 

Everyone had to be a red wall member and a tournament ticket holder during the last four years to get an access code for the chance of a ticket. Members were also required to take two cCOVID-19 tests, the PCR and rapid flow tests ahead of the game, although children aged-11 or under were exempt.

The tickets did not sell out initially and the time scale was very short due to the constant discussions and regulations that had to be put in place before the tickets were allowed to go on sale. 

Nobody was allowed to collect tickets, however the Welsh Government provided a small grant to cover part of the cost of delivering the PCR and Lateral Flow tests. This helped ensure supporters’ tests were evaluated and sent back to members in time for the game.

Members attending were given three time slots, 3-30pm, 3.30-4pm and 4-4.30 pm to give each of the 2,000 supporters a safe time slot and reduce crowding. 

Bars were allowed to be open, and flags and banners were allowed to be brought in with the usual guidelines.

Hopefully, this game will be evaluated as a success, and we can get bigger capacities into the stadiums for the September games.

Fans’ Embassies

Unfortunately, we are not able to provide our normal Fans’ Embassies services on this occasion due to the unique ongoing circumstances around the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This is the first time since 2003 that we have not been able to run a Fans’ Embassy. The message we had from the Home Office, who provide financial support to the Fans’ Embassy was: “There has been a clear change of tone from Government in the last week to a strong message not to travel to countries on the amber list unless it is essential. 

“We took the decision (with input from other Departments) that it would be inconsistent to support a service for those UK fans that have ignored FCDO travel advice.”

That’s understandable really, but we still expect a few hundred to travel to Baku and probably a lot more to Italy despite the advice, especially if Italy were to become a green zone in the government traffic light system in the meantime.

We will run a small-scale digital service through Twitter and feed any updates we get through that the link is @WeAreFSACymru.

Likewise, we will do the same for Italy unless it goes from amber to green. The British Embassies in Baku and Italy will provide a full service to support the fans that do travel.

Wales games this year

The three away games in September and October are still the targets we hope that we can aim for in regard to travelling away to matches following Wales. 

We would still advise against booking anything yet, especially after the recent news from Belarus and the hijacked plane. If you do book, please make sure you are able to cancel under the Covid booking conditions and of course double check that your travel insurance is covid compliant.

New groups following Wales

Some good news to finish on: we are seeing the emergence of three new supporters’ groups that will be beneficial for followers of Welsh football. 

They are:

It would be fantastic if you could support and join these groups, the Red Wall is growing and everyone is welcome to join, we are inclusive and pride ourselves in our “together stronger” mentality. 

Good luck to Wales in the Euros, the squad looks strong with new faces and lots of experience. We are in a very tough group, but we know our lads will give their best.

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