Still hope for Welsh summer sports, says Sport Wales chief Brian Davies

Brian Davies
Brian Davies was Wales' Chef de Mission at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games

The acting chief executive of Sport Wales believes there is still hope for some summer sports to resume in Wales.

But Brian Davies says if any easing of coronavirus lockdown happens, the traditional social aspects of sports are unlikely to occur.

"At the moment the small steps that we may be allowed to take is very much the message will be 'get in, get out' type scenario," said Davies.

The Welsh Government has set 18 June as the date for its next lockdown review.

It will decide whether to reopen outdoor sports facilities and to let non-professional elite athletes train again.

Davies hopes Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford will be able to allow some sports to resume.

"We're hoping the First Minister will make some positive announcements and there may be some hopeful glimmer of hope for those summer sports that some form of activity will take place," he told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast.

"The caveat of course is it will look different, but it maybe some small steps and we're hopefully going to learn from other countries such as New Zealand, who've come through the pandemic, seemingly, and have gradually returned to some form of normality.

"But there's still some hope for the rest of this summer for some sports, but in a different fashion."

Davies says team sports are unlikely to be among those to resume initially.

"The matches themselves will probably be a bit longer before they come back, but adapted training, adapted games of some sort maybe permissible, but not on as a social basis as they once were, which is a real shame, obviously, because that's the backbone of sport," he said.

"There are some challenges though for us because whilst me and you might be looking forward to going back to play cricket, there are sections of our community that are struggling to do any sort of activity at the moment and we're very conscious of that."

Sport Wales has given more than £500,000 to community clubs hit by the financial impact of coronavirus and winter flooding.

Davies praised the Welsh Government for continuing financial backing for Sport Wales.

He said: "There is a differential sometimes so in some sports the money at the elite end does trickle down... but for the majority it's hugely reliant on the public purse.

"So credit to Welsh Government, that money has stayed in place. We've kept our budget as an organisation and have managed to give assurance to those who have receive funding from Sport Wales that they are continuing to receive it.

"We've also then repurposed some of the funds that are discretionary throughout the year for us on different things and we've re-purposed that to deal with this crisis."

He added: "Clearly for those sports that are seasonal - summer sports like cricket and tennis etc - this is difficult for them because everybody wants to keep doing the sport that they love or have loved and what we've done with the Welsh Sports Association is set up four groups of representatives from each of these types of sports - the outdoor, the indoor, the facilities and the elite end.

"And we're developing guidance and recommendations for Welsh Government to consider."