Boris Johnson abandons crowd trial at sporting events

A crowd trial of 5,000 people at Goodwood races has been abandoned at the last minute, following a government u-turn.

It is understood the decision has been made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson due to concerns about the national coronavirus infection rate.

The seven-race card will now take place behind closed doors.

A two-day county cricket friendly between Surrey and Middlesex took place with spectators in attendance earlier this week, but it appears that for the time being that will be as far as it goes in a tightening of restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The World Snooker Championship started on Friday with fans in attendance, with further spectators due for the rest of the 17-day event. Some 5,000 racegoers had been due to attend the Glorious Goodwood Festival on Saturday.

"Pilots of crowds at sports events will now not take place," the Prime Minister said.

It comes after it was announced that people from different households in Greater Manchester, parts of east Lancashire and West Yorkshire would be banned from meeting each other inside their homes or in gardens following a spike in virus cases.

Mass gatherings have been banned since March following the onset of the pandemic in the United Kingdom.

A statement from the BHA, RCA and Goodwood Racecourse said: "The government has informed racing's leaders in the past hour that it has withdrawn permission for a pilot event involving customers to proceed at Goodwood tomorrow.

"The racing on Saturday will continue behind closed doors as it has on the earlier days of the Festival.

"The Prime Minister is setting out the rationale for the government's decision but we understand that concern about the national infection rate is the primary reason."

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