The English top-flight campaign resumes this Friday night as newly-promoted Brentford battle Arsenal in a London derby, with seven further fixtures taking place on Saturday and a Sunday double-header that includes the most high-profile match of the weekend between Tottenham and Manchester City.
And on Monday evening, the Premier League released a statement on their latest matchday protocols as full capacity crowds return following the easing of coronavirus restrictions, confirming they were actively working with clubs to introduce Covid-19 status checks in a “staged way so there is the least disruption and maximum safety possible”.
The League said: “Match-going fans should be prepared to show they have been fully vaccinated or have received a negative lateral flow test in the previous 48 hours. Fans will be able to do this by obtaining their NHS COVID pass through the NHS app or website link.”
The statement added: “Initially, in the first few matchdays of the season, supporters can expect the introduction of random spot-checks for ticket holders at some grounds as we establish the required processes so clubs and fans are prepared for all match attenders to have their Covid-19 status checked upon arrival, should it become mandatory.”
The League also said fans must comply with a supporter code of conduct, and stressed the importance of wearing masks in indoor areas, avoiding close contact with people you do not know and following one-way signage around stadiums.
The statement added: “Even though the nation is reopening, the Government has made it clear that this pandemic is still far from over.
“It is possible the safety measures for matches could be subject to change at short notice. Fans should continue to follow the latest public health guidance and guidance from their club.
“However, even in these uncertain times we are optimistic that by continuing to work together with fans, supporter groups, football stakeholders, national Government and local authorities everyone can enjoy full and vibrant stadiums while staying safe from Covid-19.
“The Premier League will continue consulting with all key stakeholders, including the Football Supporters’ Association, and will be running a series of fan-engagement campaigns to help all ticket-holders ensure they are match-ready.”
The Government swept away restrictions on capacity limits on July 19, and these are now decided at local level.
There remains uncertainty over whether so-called ‘vaccine passports’ might be introduced – either across the board or at venues holding 20,000 or more spectators – from the end of September.
Additional reporting by the Press Association.