Pilots announce spectator return to elite sporting events


The government has announced that a small number of sporting events will be used to pilot the safe return of spectators until the end of July and the beginning of August – with a view to reopening competition sites for sports fans, with measures social distancing in place, from October 2020.The events have been carefully selected to represent a range of sports environments and indoor and outdoor spectators. They are expected to include two men’s county cricket friendlies – such as Surrey v Middlesex at The Oval on July 26 and 27 – the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible Theater in Sheffield on July 31 and the Glorious Goodwood Horse Racing Festival August 1st. It is also likely that there will be other pilot events for other sports, in order to prepare for and prepare for the complete and socially distanced return of sporting events from October 1, 2020.

The pilot events will provide an opportunity to test the government’s “fifth step” guidelines for returning fans to elite sporting events.

The guidelines were developed with UK Sport and in close consultation with the Deputy Chief Physicians of England, Public Health England, the Sports Grounds Safety Authority, the police and medical representatives from the governing bodies of Olympic, Paralympic and professional sports.

It is designed for competition delivery partners and venue operators and marks the government’s latest guideline for the resumption of elite sport. The guidelines will describe the conditions, facilities and processes that will need to be implemented for the safe return of spectators to competitive sporting events, including strict restrictions on short-term numbers.

Additional guidelines describing the licensing requirements for sports stadiums and how site operators must calculate safety capacities in accordance with social distancing restrictions will be issued by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority.

It marks the last phase of the government’s measured approach to the return of elite sport, under carefully controlled conditions.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said:

For months, millions of us have felt the void of not being able to go to the match to support our team or attend a high-level sporting event. So I’m glad we can now go ahead with a plan to help the sites reopen safely for fans.

I recognize that not all sports, teams or clubs benefit from huge commercial income, and it is often their dedicated fans who are the lifeblood that helps them keep going. Working closely with sports and medical experts, these drivers will help ensure the safe return of fans to the stadiums.

While it will take some time before the venues are at full capacity, this is an important step in the right direction for the resumption of the sport of live spectators across the country.

The fifth step guidelines clearly state that the following operating standards must be in place for spectators until further notice:

  • Before purchasing a ticket, the delivery partners of the competition must provide spectators with information on the steps taken to minimize the risk of COVID-19, including any modification made to the site.
  • Spectators must accept a new code of conduct requiring them to take full responsibility for themselves and others by not showing up if they have symptoms or have been potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19. * Anyone participating in an event will also be advised to consider whether they are at higher risk due to their general health or any other risk factor.
  • Carefully controlled reservations must be put in place, so that social distancing is observed in the arrangement of seats, while minimizing the number of tickets sold at a predefined security capacity, in accordance with the directives of the regulator.
  • Spectators must be supported to avoid public transport, in particular through parking lots, cycle paths and hiking trails. However, a transport management plan with local and national providers should be in place to increase the frequency of services, if necessary.
  • A crowd management plan should be in place, incorporating controlled spectator entry and exit (including staggering entry times) and one-way systems inside the site to maintain social distance and minimize the risk of overcrowding.
  • Additional hygiene facilities, such as hand washing and disinfecting stations, should be provided, in particular at entry and exit points at the competition site and in seats / standing places.
  • Screens or barriers should be used to separate people from each other when social distance cannot be maintained for catering and retail, such as purchasing programs and merchandise, or betting.
  • Signage and markings on the ground should be developed inside and outside competition venues to impose social distance, seating plans, one-way systems and queue requirements.
  • Spectators’ medical requirements must be taken into account, such as additional isolation rooms and screening upon entry to the competition site.

Sports venues have been closed to spectators since the implementation of the lockout measures on March 23, 2020. However, in recent weeks, some elite sports have resumed behind closed doors, such as the Premier League and the Football Championship, international cricket and horse racing.

This latest announcement is part of the government’s carefully designed program to ease the burden of foreclosure in a way that should keep the rate of R, the average number of secondary infections produced by 1 infected person, down. The phased approach is described in the Prime Minister’s roadmap to facilitate blocking.


Notes to editors:

The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports has released a series of guidelines for elite sport in recent weeks.

On May 13, the first stage was published, describing the conditions for returning to individual performance training at official elite training sites while maintaining social distance from teammates and others. outside their home. This included safeguards such as thorough cleaning of the facilities and screening of athletes and staff for symptoms of coronavirus before they could enter the training site by a trained medical professional.

On May 25, DCMS released a “second step” guide, outlining the conditions for elite athletes to resume competitive training and close contact at official elite training sites, so that players can get in shape under carefully controlled medical conditions.

On May 30, the DCMS released a guide to the third step – the conditions for elite athletes and professional athletes to resume competitive sport behind closed doors in England from June 1. This opened the door to the first national live action in almost three months.

On July 5, the Secretary of Culture announced that he had negotiated agreements with sports authorities and event organizers to allow a limited number of international sporting events to be exempt from border health measures and get started this summer, with strong public health protections in place. This was followed by the fourth step, which describes the conditions, facilities and processes that will have to be implemented for all cross-border sports competitions to take place behind closed doors, and will be published on July 7.

Other updates to the fifth stage guidelines may be issued to reflect the results of the trials before competition with spectators is allowed. The implementing partners of the competition (the competition organizer and the operator of the competition site) should periodically consult gov.uk for additional updates.

Sport is a devolved issue and these tips apply to elite sports in England. Those of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should refer to the directives of the decentralized administrations.


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