UK

Euro 2020: Government now hopeful of CAPACITY CROWDS at Wembley for championships

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is now anticipating capacity crowds at Euro 2020 matches played at Wembley stadium this summer.

The government has revealed that only 15 cases of coronavirus resulted from widespread event testing in April and May, among the 58,000 people who took part.

The trial events included the FA Cup semi-final and final and the Carabao Cup final. The success of the trials has left the cabinet minister more confident that social distancing restrictions may be lifted from June 21, the next step in the government’s road map out of lockdown.

June 21 has been named as the earliest date social distancing will be dropped in England

‘I hope by June 21 we will be lighting up the West End again, having full stadiums and bringing light and Technicolor back into our national life again,’ Dowden told the Evening Standard.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has given an upbeat assessment on the return of crowds

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has given an upbeat assessment on the return of crowds

The trial events in April and May relied upon testing for covid infection, use of face masks, crowd control and ventilation. 

The next phase will trial larger crowds at less than 10 events. Some of these events will also include testing of covid passports, Sportsmail understands. 

Two Euro 2020 matches at Wembley will be included in the trial. England versus Croatia on June 13 and against Scotland on June 18. The FA has told UEFA that 22,000 fans will be present at each match. It is not clear if Covid passports will be required at these games.

The Cabinet Office has been reviewing the passports – referred to as covid certification by government – in recent months.

The NHS app is being developed to provide a record of either a person’s vaccination status, or a recent negative test for covid. The government’s aim – supported by sports organisations, including football – is to make events universally accessible. 

COVID TEST EVENTS – RESULTS

4 cases at World Snooker Championships, staged indoors at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre over 17 days

0 cases at the Brit Awards

2 cases at outdoor music festival at Sefton Park, Liverpool, among 5,900 crowd

0 cases at FA Cup semi-final at Wembley between Leicester City and Southampton attended by 4,000 fans

0 cases at Carabao Cup final between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur, attended by 8,000

0 cases at FA Cup final between Leicester City and Chelsea, attended by 21,000

9 cases a nightclub in Liverpool over two days without masks, attended by 6,000 people

 

Wembley Stadium could host a capacity crowd for the Euro 2020 final in July this year

Wembley Stadium could host a capacity crowd for the Euro 2020 final in July this year

Currently, in step three of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, crowds are limited to 10,000 in the largest stadiums. And that remains the case until the country moves into step four.

However, the low numbers of infections resulting from the phase one events trial, Dowden’s continuing upbeat assessment of full capacity at stadiums this summer and the covid passport trials all fuel hopes of 90,000 fans at Wembley for the Euro 2020 final on July 11.

Premier League executive director Bill Bush told MPs government should prepare for covid passports

Premier League executive director Bill Bush told MPs government should prepare for covid passports

For that to happen, government must first approve the transition to step four of the roadmap from June 21, which would lift social distancing restrictions. That decision will be based on an assessment of the spread of the virus, its impact on health, the progress of the vaccination programme and emergence of variants of concern.

In addition, ministers would be likely to review the outcome of the phase two trials, including the impact of covid passports.

‘There’s two questions. Can we go ahead with stage four on June 21? I hope I hope we can. We’re definitely not ruling it out. Then the second question is the ‘how’ and this is about the sort of mitigations that you might have to have in place.’

Asked if he could he envisage theatres being allowed to sell every seat instead of keeping some empty. Mr Dowden admitted he was tempted to say he was ‘confident’ but settled on the more cautious phrase, ‘I’m very hopeful.’

Scientists have acknowledged that outdoor venues, where ventilation is much better, tend to be safer environments than indoor, in relation to the spread of coronavirus. 

Socially distanced crowds of up to 10,000 spectators were allowed to return to Premier League matches last week

Socially distanced crowds of up to 10,000 spectators were allowed to return to Premier League matches last week

However, very large events, such as those with 90,000 people attending, bring additional challenges around maintaining safety on public transport, which government also has to consider. 

As a result, covid passports may yet be required to allow capacity crowds at summer events, or maintain high numbers if the virus makes a comeback later in the year.

Premier League executive director Bill Bush said yesterday that covid passports will be needed to end the ‘torture’ of socially distanced supporters, or no fans at all. He said  it was important to do work now to ensure that covid certification was ready if and when it is needed.

Bill Bush said clubs welcomed back fans to reconnect with supporters rather than make money

Bill Bush said clubs welcomed back fans to reconnect with supporters rather than make money

‘We would rather have a covid certification scheme embracing both vaccination and testing very much as a likely to be needed fall back.

‘We fall back to a certificated population rather than to a social distancing and all the destruction of opportunity and destruction of income that flows from [that].’

Covid certification, popularly known as covid passports, would involve a record of vaccination or a recent test for the virus, which confirms a person is covid free at that time.

‘To know that tested, operational covid certification is available at really short notice would be a major reassurance,’ Bush told the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee. 

England’s Summer of Sport

Key events after 21 June – the earliest date all restrictions can be lifted:

11 June-11 July: Football – Euro 2020 in various countries, including seven matches at Wembley

28 June-11 July: Tennis – Wimbledon

23, 24 & 26 June: Cricket – England v Sri Lanka T20s 

29 June, 1 & 4 July: Cricket – England v Sri Lanka ODIs

8, 10 & 13 July: Cricket – England v Pakistan ODIs

13 July: Athletics – Diamond League: Anniversary Games at London Stadium

15-18 July: Golf – The Open at Royal St George’s

16, 18 & 20 July: Cricket – England v Pakistan T20s

17 July: Rugby League – Betfred Challenge Cup final at Wembley

18 July: Formula 1 – British Grand Prix at Silverstone

4 Aug-14 Sept: Cricket – England v India five Test series 

6 August: Football – EFL season commences 

14 August: Football – Premier League season commences 

19 August: Cricket – Royal London Cup final

21 August: Cricket – The Hundred women’s and men’s finals

18 September: Cricket – Vitality T20 Blast semi-finals and final 

28 Sept-1 Oct: Cricket – Bob Willis Trophy final at Lord’s

3 October: Athletics – London Marathon

9 October: Rugby League – Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford


Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button