Preston North End's visit to Swansea City will kick-off early and is set to be played behind closed doors

Preston North End are facing another game behind closed doors due to Covid restrictions in Wales.

By Dave Seddon
Monday, 10th January 2022, 5:53 pm

The Lilywhites' FA Cup defeat to Cardiff City was played in an empty stadium on Sunday, the Welsh Government having imposed a ban of mass gatherings since Boxing Day.

With those restrictions set to stay in place longer, North End's Championship clash with Swansea City on Saturday, January 22, will as things stand be behind closed doors.

As a result, the kick-off has been brought forward to 12.30pm so that the game can be lived streamed on iFollow to fans in this country and abroad.

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Preston North End's players take to the pitch at an empty Cardiff City Stadium on Sunday

Moving to the earlier start time allows the live streaming to adhere to broadcasting rules - games at 3pm on a Saturday can't be shown live.

To play two games behind closed doors in less than a fortnight is bitterly disappointing to North End.

They lost out on a share of gate receipts from the FA Cup game at Cardiff. That is not a factor for the Swansea game, with the home team keeping all gate money for league matches.

There is no sign of the Welsh Government changing policy on crowds at sports grounds this month.

Last week, EFL chief executive Trevor Birch wrote to the Welsh authorities appealing them to lift the ban.

North End have a return trip to Cardiff in the Championship later in the season, that game scheduled for Saturday, March 12.

It would be hoped that before then, the ban on fans would long have been lifted.

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