Sporting events will allow fans to return from 1 October with social distancing in place, if it is safe to do so.
The Government has announced that a small number of sporting events will be used to pilot the safe return of spectators through late July and early August – with a view to reopen competition venues for sports fans, with social distancing measures in place, from October 2020.
The events have been carefully selected to represent a range of sports and indoor and outdoor spectator environments. They are expected to include two men’s county cricket friendly matches – such as Surrey v Middlesex at The Oval on 26-27 July – the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre from 31 July, and the Glorious Goodwood horse racing festival on 1 August. There are also likely to be further pilot events for other sports, in order to build up to and prepare for the full, socially distanced return of sporting events from 1 October 2020.
The pilot events will provide the opportunity to stress-test the Government’s ‘stage five’ guidance, on the return of fans to elite sports events.
The guidance has been developed with UK Sport and in close consultation with the Deputy Chief Medical Officers of England, Public Health England, the Sports Grounds Safety Authority, Police and medical representatives across Olympic, Paralympic and professional sports governing bodies.
It is designed for competition delivery partners and venue operators and marks the final piece of Government guidance for the resumption of elite sport. The guidance will outline the conditions, facilities and processes that will need to be implemented for the safe return of spectators to competitive sporting events, including tight restrictions on numbers in the short-term.
Sports venues have been closed to spectators since lockdown measures were implemented on 23 March 2020. However in recent weeks certain elite sports have resumed behind closed doors, such as Premier League and Championship football, international cricket and horse racing.