The United Kingdom’s Minister for Sport, Nigel Huddleston, claimed that the British government is very confident that it will be able to allow spectators back into stadiums in a safer manner, albeit with several measures being put into place.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had claimed that fans could be able to return to stadiums in England from the start of October, as life after the COVID-19 pandemic gets on its way.
On Tuesday, a limited number of fans were allowed in the cricket friendly between Worcerstershire and Warwickshire, as part of a pilot programme to slowly reintroduce fans back into sports.
There were also pilot events at the World Snooker Championship with 300 people being allowed into the arena, as well as in the Goodwood horse racing festival.
Speaking with the BBC, Huddleston stated that regardless of whether it is in outdoor or indoor stadiums and theatres, “we’ve seen in other countries there is a way to get full audiences without a vaccine”.
This comes after several sports associations around the world started allowing a limited number of fans into stadiums, one of the most prominent events being the Coupe de France final between Paris Saint-Germain and Saint-Etienne on July 24, with around 2,800 fans being present at the Stade de France.
Adding to this, Huddleston said that he is “confident that there are measures that can be put in place that can give both those taking part in the sport and spectators confidence that they are going to somewhere safe.”
However, senior government adviser James Calder had warned against such sporting events in England, claiming that venues in England were unlikely to be able to fill in their full capacity in 2020.
Several sporting events returned over the course of the last two months, particularly the Premier League on June 17, but behind closed doors.
There are growing worries over the future of several football clubs down the football pyramid in England, with plenty of clubs having stadium tickers as their main source of income.
The Premier League has committed itself to try and aid such clubs, handing £125 million (€137.80 million) to the lower leagues”, yet Huddleston claimed that “it’s really important that football looks after itself”.
He concluded by saying that he thinks that there is still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to distributing funds across sports, adding that the government is “looking as well at the whole structure of sports, and we’ll be looking at a grassroots review of sports governance”.
The UK’s number of daily cases seems to have steadied, with the numbers remaining below four figures over July, but with the government opening up several establishments it has to be wary of a potential second wave of infections.