MX23RW : Friday, September 18 20:39:44| >> :600:3099701:3099701:

Spectators allowed to return to select pilot events from Saturday

Spectators allowed to return to select pilot events from Saturday
© Reuters
The government says 'hard work' to keep coronavirus under control has allowed restrictions to be eased.

Pilot events to test the safe return of spectators will resume from Saturday in the hope that fans can attend sporting venues from the start of October.

The events will start with the final of the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre this weekend, with a full pilot programme to follow.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called off planned pilot events with some fans in attendance during the first two weeks of August amid fears over the coronavirus infection rate.

2019 Betfred Snooker World Championship – Day One – The Crucible
Sheffield’s Crucible will host a crowd at the World Snooker Championship final this weekend (Nigel French/PA)

But the government has now sanctioned the public attending a small number of sporting events, with a view to reopening competition venues for sports fans, with social distancing measures in place, from October 1.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “The nation’s hard work to keep the virus under control means we can now make further careful progress on recovery with allowing audiences back for indoor performances, fans back at sports events and the reopening of more Covid-19 secure leisure businesses.

“We must all continue to stay alert but today’s welcome news means these organisations can finally get going safely, and we can enjoy more of the things we love as a nation.

“I have no doubt that they will work incredibly hard to keep their fans, patrons, and customers safe.”

Last month’s two-day cricket clash between Surrey and Middlesex had signalled the return of some fans to live sport, and two more county friendlies also saw spectators through the gates.

The World Snooker Championship started its first day with fans in attendance, and around 5,000 racegoers had been due to attend the Glorious Goodwood Festival on August 1.

Surrey v Middlesex – Friendly – Day Two – Kia Oval
Some cricket fans were able to watch when Surrey played Middlesex at the Kia Oval last month (Adam Davy/PA)

But those plans were shelved abruptly, with the government determined to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The plan set out in the ‘roadmap to recovery’ was paused for two weeks but will now resume from Saturday, except for specific areas where local restrictions are in place.

The World Snooker Tour announced late on Thursday night that a small number of tickets for all four sessions of the final would go on sale on Friday morning.

The PA news agency understands the England and Wales Cricket Board welcomes the resumption of the pilot events and is looking forward to working with the government, but it does not yet know what games will be part of any programme.

New coronavirus PSA banner

Coronavirus outbreak - Click here for more stories

Click here for more stories about Oliver Dowden

Share this article now:
Did you know...?
Latest Sports Video

rhs 2.0
Europa League
Ligue 1
Primeira Liga
Turkish Super Lig
Belgian Pro League
Greek Superleague
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
League of Ireland Premier
Welsh Premier League
Belarusian Premier League
Segunda Division
Eerste Divisie
Copa Libertadores
AFC Champions League
Chinese Super League
Premier League 2 - Div 1
Premier League 2 - Div 2
European Challenge Cup
Challenge Cup

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!