Fans Could Return to England Stadia in October

Fans could be welcomed back to stadiums in England from October, according to Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

Pilots will be taking place from 1 August, with all stadium reopenings subject to coronavirus guidelines.

“We will pilot larger gatherings in venues like sports stadiums with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn,” the Prime Minister announced. “From October, we intend to bring back audiences in stadiums.

“Again, these changes must be done in a COVID-secure way, subject to the successful outcome of pilots.”

The pilot projects include two men’s county cricket friendly matches – including Surrey v Middlesex at The Oval on 26-27 July; the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre from 31 July; and the Goodwood horse racing festival on 1 August.

“For months, millions of us have felt the void of being unable to go to the match to support our team or attend a top-class sporting event,” said Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston. “So, I am pleased that we are now able to move forward with a plan to help venues safely reopen their doors to fans.

“I recognise that not every sport, team or club has the benefit of huge commercial revenue, and it is often their dedicated fans that are the lifeblood which helps keep them going. By working closely with sports and medical experts, these pilots will help ensure the safe return of fans to stadiums.

“Although it will remain some time before venues are full to capacity, this is a major step in the right direction for the resumption of live spectator sport across the country.”

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport also revealed that further pilot events are likely to be held in other sports, too.

In order for fans to return to stadiums, the government has outlined operating guidelines that state:

  • Fans must agree to a new code of behaviour that includes not attending if they potentially have symptoms of coronavirus or have been exposed to a person who has tested positive;
  • Social distancing must be observed in seating arrangements;
  • Crowd management plans should be in place, including the controlled entry and exit of fans and one-way systems;
  • Additional hygiene facilities should be installed inside venues, particularly at entrances and exits;
  • Screening procedures should be considered at stadium entrances.