Russell Martin says the Welsh government’s decision to effectively ban Swansea fans from playing at home due to rising coronavirus cases has put them at a disadvantage over English rivals and will hurt January’s transfer plans.
All sporting events in Wales are limited to 50 spectators from Boxing Day due to the wave of the Omicron variant, although fans can still travel and watch matches in England.
The different rules mean that supporters of Swansea and their neighbor Sky Bet Championship Cardiff, as well as League Two Newport, can watch their club’s away games but not home games for at least the next three weeks.
Martin, whose team is expected to play at Millwall on Boxing Day, said: “We are at a disadvantage having no fans at home.
“We are at a financial disadvantage. It’s already touching us and it’s about January.
“It will take a little more training from the people at the stadium. Once they have everything sorted out, we will pretty much know what we have to work with.
“But the landscape has already changed and I expect it will change again sooner or later.
“We have been told they are the next three games. After that we don’t know what will happen.”
Swansea will play their league home games against Luton [December 29] and Fulham [January 3] with only 50 fans allowed to attend.
The same goes for the FA Cup third round match with Southampton on 8 January.
Before that, however, Swansea should travel the M4 to visit Millwall on Boxing Day.
On the decision of the Welsh clubs to play their home games in front of just 50 fans, Martin said: “I am sad for our fans, I am frustrated for our fans.
“We can’t have fans, but they can travel to the away match on Boxing Day.
“The fact that we can take the fans to London on Saturday, where I’m pretty sure there are far more cases than where we are based, doesn’t make much sense.
“But we have to move forward and we can’t wait to get our supporters back every time we are told to do so.”
Monday 3 January 14:45
Swansea reported two positive coronavirus cases prior to the Millwall game and both players are isolating themselves.
“Nobody is symptomatic,” Martin said. “We started testing every day because we had to.
“We had a couple of positives, but they both got vaccinated.
“We will have to see what happens in the coming days and weeks, and I’m pretty sure it will affect us sooner or later.
“Millwall has been hugely affected by this and we just hope they can bring everyone back and the game will move on.
“We want a match in Santo Stefano and the fans will also travel there wanting a match.”
Morison frustrated by the fan ban
Cardiff’s next home game is against Preston in the FA Cup on 9 January, after their Boxing Day game against Coventry was postponed due to positive cases within their squad.
They are expected to travel to Bournemouth and West Brom on December 30 and January 2, respectively, where Cardiff fans will be able to attend.
Bluebirds manager Steve Morison said: “We are really frustrated, but from our point of view we will have to do as much show as possible in Bournemouth and West Brom so that fans can go and see.
“They [the Welsh Government] make your own decisions. You saw that Scotland did something similar. They are still allowing some fans to enter.
“Will the other governments get to where Wales is? I don’t know. Unfortunately we have to move forward. It gets to the base, so once you start looking closely, you get more and more frustrated.”
Newport President: A £ 3 million support fund is not enough
Newport County President Gavin Foxall says a £ 3 million Welsh government support fund for sports clubs in Wales is not enough to cover lost revenue from playing behind closed doors.
The club’s Boxing Day home game against Forest Green Rovers was canceled due to Covid cases in the away team.
They travel to Leyton Orient and Walsall ahead of consecutive home games against Salford and Harrogate next month.
“They’ve set aside £ 3 million and it will be shared across all the different sports clubs, but you’re covering it all there,” said Foxall. “You are covering all the rugby clubs, you are covering the base, you are covering the football.
“One of the big events in Wales over the holiday period is the Welsh Grand National, so it will cover that as well.
“We don’t expect a big deal. Anything we get will obviously be very welcome, but we don’t know exactly how it will work and what it will be. This is a widely shared opinion in Wales.
“Given the amount of teams in rugby and football and when you bring the other sports, we don’t think it will be enough.
“We will lose revenue over the holiday period. We have presented our offer to the Welsh government and we hope to recover as much of it as possible.”