BREAKING NEWS: Boris Johnson puts the brakes on the return of fans to sport as spectators are now BANNED from cricket, snooker and racing test events for another two weeks… leaving football to face a longer wait for crowds to come back
- Boris Johnson has delayed test events to allow limited fans back to sport events
- Spectators were set to return to Goodwood, Edgbaston and the Oval and the Crucible this weekend
- But evidence of increasing coronavirus infections means the plans are on ice
- Hopes that football fans could partially return in October now look doubtful
The return of fans inside grounds and stadiums had been earmarked for October, but now plans to allow the limited crowds at the Crucible for the World Snooker Championship, Goodwood Festival and the Oval will be pushed back.
Sporting matches in the Premier League and England cricket have been held behind closed doors with the virus still a major concern around the country, and with evidence growth of the UK’s R number – the figure which demonstrates the rate of infection, plans for test events will be put on ice.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to delay the easing of coronavirus restrictions, meaning plans to bring spectators back to sporting events will be delayed
Spectators have been trialled at the Oval but no more fans will be admitted this weekend
THE TEST EVENTS SCRAPPED THIS WEEKEND
Goodwood Festival – 4000 fans
Edgbaston & The Oval – 2500 fans
The Crucible – 300 fans
The news comes as a major blow to Premier League clubs, who had been hoping to admit supporters at pre-season friendlies next month on a socially-distanced basis.
‘Pilots of crowds at sports events will now not take place,’ Mr Johnson said in an address at Downing Street.
He admitted the Government ‘couldn’t afford to ignore the evidence’ and said the country must ‘squeeze the brake pedal’ to keep the virus under control.
This weekend, 2500 were set to arrive at Edgbaston and the Oval and 300 were due to attend the Crucible.
A two-day county cricket friendly between Surrey and Middlesex took place with spectators in attendance earlier this week, but it appears that for the time being that will be as far as it goes in a tightening of restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Premier League clubs were hoping to admit a small number of fans in the coming months
The World Snooker Championship started on Friday with fans in attendance, with further spectators due for the rest of the 17-day event.
And some 5,000 racegoers had been due to attend the Glorious Goodwood Festival on Saturday.
In a statement on Twitter, Goodwood racecourse announced that permission to hold a pilot test event with spectators on Saturday had been withdrawn.
‘The government has informed racing’s leaders in the past hour that it has withdrawn permission for a pilot event involving customers, to proceed at Goodwood tomorrow.
‘The racing on Sat 1 August will continue behind closed doors as it has on the previous four days of the meeting.’
Mass gatherings have been banned since March when the coronavirus forced the UK into lockdown, with sporting competitions across the country all suspended.
Some competitions, including the Premier League, horse racing, Formula One and boxing, have been allowed to be held behind closed doors.
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