Wrexham AFC could host pilot sporting event despite club’s offer being rejected
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
Wrexham AFC’s Racecourse Ground could still host a pilot sporting event despite an initial attempt being knocked back, Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford has said.
Sports venues across the country have been closed since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020.
As lockdown restrictions ease, the Welsh Government recently announced it was planning trial a series of outdoor cultural and sporting events over the summer for between 200 and 1,000 people.
The football club, which was recently taken over by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, extended an invitation for its stadium on Mold Road to be used as one of the host venues.
However, executive director Humphrey Ker revealed in his weekly newspaper column in The Leader that the offer had been turned down.
Writing in today’s (Thursday, 22 April) edition of The Leader newspaper, the British comedian and writer said: “I mentioned in a previous column that we had extended an invitation to the Welsh Government to do a pilot sporting event with us and have supporters present for our last home game of the regular season against King’s Lynn.
“But we have heard that they are going to be concentrating elsewhere and do their test events at cricket and rugby games so it doesn’t appear that we will have anyone in at the Racecourse at any point this season.”
First Minister Mark Drakeford was questioned during a visit to Wrexham earlier today on why the request had been rejected.
The Welsh Labour leader said he had not made the decision, but was hopeful the club could take part in future trials.
Speaking at the Wrexham Lager brewery in the town, he said: “I’m not directly responsible for choosing which pilot events go ahead – that is done by the people who are the experts in that field.
“The fact that they’re not in the first round of pilots doesn’t mean they won’t be either beneficiaries of the pilot or that we might not be able to do more work with them if pilots need to continue.
“I’m very aware of the importance of Wrexham Football Club in this part of Wales.
“The pilot events we’re holding are designed to make sure we can safely reopening access to spectators at sports events, arts events and festivals.
“The sooner we can have people back doing the things that matter to them the better, but it’s got to be done safely.”