North Wales Crusaders will once again play behind closed doors this weekend, despite having sold nearly 400 tickets for the visit of Doncaster.
Having initially been permitted a limited attendance of 400 at Eirias Park, they were informed on Wednesday that due to the new Delta variant of coronavirus that fans would no longer be permitted.
The Welsh Government had relaxed restrictions on June 7 and after Conwy Council agreed to the limit, Crusaders had sold almost every ticket in a rush by fans to see the game.
It leaves them as the only club in the rugby league pyramid not permitted to have fans, and this late move has cost the club almost £10,000 already.
Crusaders only announced a move to Eirias Park, in Colwyn Bay, as their previous home at Queensway Stadium was unsuitable to meet coronavirus protocols.
Club officials have pointed to other public events held in the local area recently, including markets, festivals and the opening of beaches and promenades.
They even offered to introduce mandatory negative Lateral Flow tests for all attendees, as well as re-affirming the social distancing and other requirements that come from the RFL’s clear COVID protocols.
However, the local authority has hinted that it may ‘repair’ the financial damage suffered by Crusaders in comparison to clubs based in England.
Conwy Council is worried at the 60% increase in infection rate, and remains open minded as to whether it’s due to the delta variant or more social mixing.
They say their actions in forcing the match to be played behind closed doors is all about the message the council sends out, and that they need to get to grip with the latest outbreak to protect residents and prevent further damage to the economy.
This will be the fourth home game North Wales have played behind closed doors, in a season where they are only scheduled to play nine at home.
Their next game is in Wales too – albeit away at West Wales Raiders, who at this stage are expecting to be able to permit fans.