Cardiff City chief reacts to Preston North End FA Cup clash going behind closed doors

Cardiff chief executive Mehmet Dalman has described all sports fixtures moving behind closed doors in Wales as a “major blow”.

By Peter Storey
Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 4:45 pm

All sporting events in Wales will be held behind closed doors from Boxing Day due to the surge in coronavirus cases, the Welsh government has announced.

Cardiff CEO Dalman insisted all new guidelines will be followed, but conceded another shut-out of fans will hit the Bluebirds hard, with their first game to be affected the FA Cup third-round clash with Preston on January 9.

“It’s a major blow from all aspects, but we have to put the safety of our fans, players and everyone first,” said Dalman.

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The Cardiff City Stadium will not be able to host supporters when Preston visit in the FA Cup on January 9

“So we will follow the guidelines as they are laid out.

“These things are made for a reason and as much as we dislike them, we will certainly obey them.

“It’s a blow of course for football, a blow for our club, because we always want to play in front of our fan base, and that’s a great shame.”

Fans of Welsh football clubs should currently still be able to attend away matches in England, but Dalman feels further restrictions may be in the offing.

Asked if Cardiff fans could travel to away matches in England, Dalman replied: “Theoretically speaking that’s correct, in practical terms, let’s see what happens next.

“There are a lot more developments to come, I’m sure of that. So I would just wait to see the next announcements from the government as to the guidelines, and we go from there.”

When asked if the EFL would be able to prise any money out of the Premier League to help offset lost revenue, Dalman added: “You know my views on the EFL, the answer is I wouldn’t hold my breath.”

The first EFL fixture due to be affected is Swansea’s Championship clash with Luton on December 29 and chief executive Julian Winter said: “The club is devastated that supporters will not be able to attend home fixtures. However, we must support the rules of the Welsh Government.

“As our supporters are aware, the last two seasons have proven to be very difficult on a financial level. This new ruling comes at a particularly difficult time as our Christmas fixtures are usually extremely busy.”