Fans 'CAN return to sport from Oct 1… but on a smaller level'

Fans WILL be allowed to return to stadiums from October 1 despite a crackdown on social gatherings, government letter confirms… but the number of spectators in attendance could be cut to just 1,000

  • It was hoped elite sports could have 30 per cent of stadiums full from October 1
  • But after a rise in Covid-19 cases across the UK, those plans have been diluted
  • Now, it appears as little as 1,000 supporters could be allowed back to venues 

The government is set to apply the breaks on the timeline for fans returning to sport next month, with as little as 1,000 spectators allowed back to stadiums instead of the initial plans for up to 30 per cent of a venue.  

Provisional guidelines were in place for restrictions to be lifted at elite sporting events from October 1, allowing up to 30 per cent of supporters back to watch live sport.

However, according a letter written to a Conservative MP from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, the number permitted now is set to be heavily diluted to around 1,000 – 2,500.

Clubs are set to allow just 1,000 fans back into stadiums next month rather than 30 per cent

A number of test events have been held to trial a socially-distanced return of supporters

Nigel Huddleston of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport wrote to fellow Conservative MP and former Sports Minister Tracey Crouch to underline the plan to continue to open sporting events for a small number of spectators from October 1.

‘I know how important this is for sports clubs for whom paying spectators are vital,’ Huddleston wrote to Crouch. ‘Subject to public health conditions, we hope to open elite sport fixtures including the National League for socially distanced spectators under covid-secure conditions from October 1.’

Clubs across the world of sport are taking a major financial hit by playing their respective fixtures without fans in attendance. 

The Times say that in the Premier League, Tottenham and Aston Villa are particularly frustrated that plans for fans coming back could now be restricted to just 1,000. 

Snooker fans were also allowed back to the Crucible earlier this year as part of a trial event

There has been a dramatic upturn in Covid-19 cases across the country in the last fortnight, with cases in the United Kingdom passing 3,000 a day at one point last week.

In response, the government unveiled their much-maligned ‘rule of six’ to restrict gatherings, but this doesn’t apply as stringently in public venues where there is extra room for people to gather. This is where sports teams are hopeful they can still get people back into venues.

There have been a number of test events with spectators returning to sport from friendly matches in football’s pre-season to snooker at The Crucible and cricket matches at The Oval and Edgbaston. 

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