UK Government to Discuss Return of Fans to Venues This Week


Liverpool v Leeds United - Premier League
The UK government will discuss plans for fans to return to grounds this week | Pool/Getty Images

The UK government are expected to meet with senior sport officials this week to discuss the return of fans to grounds, with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) hoping to welcome some spectators back for 1 October.

Around 2,500 fans were allowed to attend Brighton’s friendly clash with Chelsea in August, with the pilot event being seen as a success. However, the recent rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the UK has prompted a re-think with regards to the plans to welcome fans back to grounds, with pilot events being limited to 1,000 people.

Brighton And Hove Albion v Chelsea - Pre-Season Friendly
Fans were allowed back for Brighton’s friendly clash with Chelsea in August | Steve Bardens/Getty Images

This was criticised by the Premier League, with CEO Richard Masters explaining in a statement released on Friday that they had written to the government to express their concerns over the limited number of fans allowed to return as part of the pilot tests.

However, BBC Sport now report that the UK government will meet with senior officials this week to try to agree a plan to once again re-open grounds for fans to return. Furthermore, DCMS Secretary of State Oliver Dowden will meet with stakeholders to understand their positions ahead of the talks with the government.

Despite the rise in cases, Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage Nigel Huddleston wrote to Tracey Crouch MP (via BBC’s Ollie Bayliss) on Monday to confirm that they hope to reopen ‘elite sport fixtures’ from 1 October for a certain number of fans who will adhere to government guidelines.

This comes after Arsenal confirmed at the start of September they are hoping to welcome fans back to the Emirates Stadium on a reduced capacity basis for their home clash with Sheffield United on 3 October. In addition, the Gunners were also keen to add that they hope to welcome a greater number of fans back into the stadium as the 2020/21 season progresses.

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