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Pembrokeshire football fans encouraged to give blood

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THE Welsh Blood Service has partnered with the FAW’s JD Cymru Leagues and Orchard Welsh Premier Women’s League to launch a brand-new campaign to encourage Haverfordwest County fans to donate blood this season and to help save lives in the local community.

Through its ‘Blood, Sweat and Cheers’ campaign, clubs are being encouraged by the Welsh Blood Service to engage with their supporters and local communities to promote the importance of giving blood and signing up football fans to save thousands of lives.

The campaign has received support from former Wales midfielder Owain Tudur Jones and Wales forward Natasha Harding.

Every single day the Welsh Blood Service needs to collect 350 blood donations to supply hospitals with enough blood for patients.

Blood and its by-products play a vital role in saving lives each day, with donations helping accident victims, patients having a kidney, liver or an organ transplant, pregnant women, leukaemia and cancer patients, someone about to undergo open heart surgery and premature babies who cannot survive without a blood transfusion.

The Welsh Blood Service collects 100,000 blood donations each year from roughly 70,000 volunteer donors. In its new role as the official community partner of the FAW’s Cymru Leagues and Welsh Premier Women’s League*, the Welsh Blood Service is hoping the ‘Blood, Sweat and Cheers’ campaign will help the organisation with its goal of signing 11,000 new blood donors in 2021.

Although the pandemic has temporarily stopped football fans from attending games, clubs are asking supporters to cheer their team on by making a potentially lifesaving blood donation instead. Giving blood is considered an essential service, and donation sessions have continued across Wales throughout the pandemic with additional safety measures introduced to meet Welsh Government guidance for donors attending.

Stephen Williams, Chairman of the National Leagues Board, said: “The Welsh Blood Service is our first community partner for the JD Cymru Leagues and Orchard Welsh Premier Women’s League and we’re delighted to have made such an important signing. In each and every community across Wales there are people whose lives have been supported by blood donation and we’re calling on football fans to get involved and be lifesaving champions.

“We know football clubs across all levels of the game are often at the heart of their communities and during what continues to be a difficult time for all, we are grateful to provide clubs and fans an opportunity to play an important role for their club when many clubs aren’t currently playing.”

With around 1,600 donation sessions at 400 different venues across Wales every year, there are plenty of opportunities for fans to find their nearest session and make a difference.

Anyone aged between 17 and 66 can enrol online and become a donor. From start to finish, the process of donating takes just less than one hour, with the actual blood donation lasting only five to ten minutes.

The Welsh Blood Service has introduced a new function on its website which will allow fans from clubs across Wales to click on their club’s emblem and view a list of upcoming donation centres local to them.

To learn more about those sessions or donating blood, visit wbs.wales/football and enter your postcode to find all donation sessions in your area.

Sport

Haverfordwest County ask fans to stay away as football returns to Bridge Meadow

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HAVERFORDWEST COUNTY has asked fans not to attend the Bridge Meadow Stadium today, March 6, as the club restarts its JD Cymru Premier campaign.

The Bluebirds take on Cardiff Met in a game that kicks off at 2:30pm but, like all fixtures in the Cymru Premier, the game is being played behind closed doors.

A club statement asks fans not to congregate outside the stadium and adds that there are ‘rigorous protocols’ for those who must attend.

A spokesperson said: “Haverfordwest County AFC would like to urge all fans to stay at home for (the) fixture against Cardiff Met. For the foreseeable future, all matches will remain behind closed doors.

“The club, along with Welsh Government guidelines, explicitly forbids the congregation of fans outside the stadium to watch the game. There are numerous precautions in place to ensure that those who must attend the game, stick to rigorous protocols to remain safe.

“All match highlights will be available post-match, via Sgorio. We look forward to welcoming fans back to the Bridge Meadow, when it is safe to do so.”

The Club says that this will apply to all future home matches.

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Sport

Signed Wales shirts gifted to RNLI go up for auction

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FOLLOWING a winning start to the Six Nations Tournament, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) have scored a winning try for the RNLI, gifting six signed rugby shirts to help save lives at sea.

Each rugby shirt has been signed by the full WRU squad and are accompanied by a certificate of authentication – a winning prize for any Welsh rugby fan.

To avoid a ruck for the WRU shirts the charity has placed all six signed shirts on an online auction, ensuring a fair game for all who wish to win the golden prize. The auction will be live until Wednesday, March 31, which allows plenty of time for supporters to bid for the team in red.

Each signed shirt includes Wales Captain, Mumbles RNLI supporter and the most capped international player of all time Alun Wyn Jones; as well as Louis Rees-Zammit, the Man of the Match in the nail-biting Scotland v Wales game.

Nick Evans, RNLI Fundraising and Partnership Lead said: ‘On behalf of the charity I would like to say a big thank you to the Welsh Rugby Union for donating these fantastic prizes to the RNLI. RNLI volunteers are on call 24-7 and are often called away from important events such as family celebrations – or international rugby tournaments – to respond to the pager if someone is in trouble at sea.

‘Like all charities, 2020 was a challenging year for the RNLI when all traditional fundraising had to stop – all our shops were closed, there were no collections and all events had to be cancelled. This is why we at the RNLI are so grateful to all the team at WRU for their ongoing support. The auction is now live and we would like to encourage all Wales rugby supporters to throw the RNLI a lifeline and place their bid for the winning prize.’

To place a bid or find out more about the charity auction please visit https://www.jumblebee.co.uk/rnliwru.

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Sport

Five subs to be allowed for JD Cymru Premier clubs

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THE FAW’s National Leagues Board has confirmed that JD Cymru Premier clubs will be permitted to make five substitutions in matches, in accordance with the Laws of the Game, until the end of the 2020-21 top-flight season.

FIFA extended the use of the rule, which was first introduced following the COVID-19 outbreak, citing “player welfare” as part of the reason for the temporary amendment to Law 3 of the Laws of the Game.

FIFA stated that “Some competitions which resumed in 2020 may have a shorter-than-usual recovery/preparation period before the start of their next season.”

“For many competitions, the 2020/21 season will involve matches being played in a condensed period due to a delayed start and the inability to end later than usual because of major international tournaments.”

With the JD Cymru Premier set to restart on March 2, the National Leagues Board has approved the use of the rule in the JD Cymru Premier until the end of the current campaign.

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