Updated: May 28
Following a meeting with Newport Live Management on Friday 21st May the club officers have been attempting to find out why athletic meetings have taken place and will continue to take place across Wales, but not currently in Newport. The issue it seems is that Newport City Council Legal Team initially failed to notice that the Welsh Government guidelines on return to sport specifically state that the maximum number allowed to gather as part of an outdoor activity is 50 (which would potentially restrict our training numbers to 50 per hour). They also failed to notice that within the guidelines the Welsh Government specifically state that "there are currently no set limits on the number of children under 18 who can participate in an organised activity" and that it is up to organisers to ensure that they can safely deal with the numbers participating.
Newport City Council's legal team are also saying that "organised activity" is not the same as "organised competition" and that they are awaiting specific guidelines on organised competition. We believe this is flawed thinking as the Welsh Government is unlikely to draw a distinction between activity and competition at any stage and under the same guidelines other local authorities have allowed competition to go ahead as long as the "activity" is risk assessed beforehand.
Newport Harriers Officers had started preparing a risk assessment, which could have been submitted by last weekend, but we have not been afforded the opportunity to do so.
We cannot pretend that hosting a meeting at this time would not create challenges for the club. However we believe those challenges could have been overcome.
It is extremely disappointing given that the club facilitated major investment into the stadium in partnership with Sport Wales and Welsh Athletics that we cannot utilise the facility to enhance the experience for our members.
The officers have been advised that Newport City Council and Newport Live will review this issue on Friday 4th June. That clearly is too late to enable the Youth Development League Meeting on 5th June to go ahead and even if the review was held tomottow the challenges in organising a meeting for the following weekend would mitigate against it happening.
We will continue to press for a change of heart by Newport City Council and Newport Live to try to bring them in line with other facility providers in Wales.
We strongly urge members to contact their local councillors to get them to support a meaningful return to competitive sport for our members.
As things stand there is also doubt that the meeting scheduled for 12th and 13th June will take place.
The link below gives the latest Level 2 Alert Welsh Government Guidelines.