Football fans WON’T all be checked for their Covid vaccination or test status at Premier League games, with clubs admitting they will just use ‘random spot checks’ unless passes become mandatory at the end of next month
- The Premier League will conduct ‘random spot checks’ in the opening weeks
- Not every fan will be required to show their Covid vaccination or test status
- At Euro 2020, all attendees had to show they had either been fully vaccinated or had received a negative lateral flow test in the previous 48 hours
- Vaccine passports may be introduced for stadiums from the end of September
- Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville said the policy of random spot-checks is ‘bizarre’
- The new Premier League season starts on Friday when Brentford host Arsenal
Football supporters of Premier League teams won’t all be subjected to showing their Covid vaccination or test status at matches from when the new season starts on Friday.
When fans returned in limited capacity in mid-May, all attendees were required to show they had either been fully vaccinated or had received a negative lateral flow test in the previous 48 hours, via their NHS Covid pass through the NHS app.
This was also the case for spectators attending Euro 2020 – although Covid checks failed when thousands of fans stormed the checkpoints and gates at Wembley before England’s final defeat by Italy.
UEFA charged the FA over the supporter chaos at Wembley on July 11, with estimates suggesting at least 5,000 ticketless fans forced their way into the stadium despite the Covid checkpoints in place.
Yet ahead of the first game of the new season – Brentford vs Arsenal on Friday night – the Premier League revealed they will instead conduct random spot-checks of fans’ Covid-19 status at some grounds in the opening few weeks.
Former Manchester United defender and current Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville described the policy of random spot-checks as ‘bizarre’ in a tweet on Tuesday morning.
Football supporters of Premier League teams won’t all be subjected to show their Covid vaccination or test status at matches
Premier League said they will instead conduct random spot-checks of fans’ Covid-19 status
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville described the policy of random spot-checks as ‘bizarre’
Ticketless England fans gained access to Wembley on July 11 despite the Covid checkpoints
There also remains uncertainty over whether so-called ‘vaccine passports’ might be introduced – either across the board or at venues holding 20,000 or more spectators – from the end of September.
A Premier League statement stressed that despite the easing of coronavirus restrictions on July 19, social distancing and one-way systems will still be in place as clubs prepare for full capacities again for the first time since the pandemic began.
The statement read: ‘Initially, in the first few matchdays of the season, supporters can expect the introduction of random spot-checks for ticket holders at some grounds as we establish the required processes so clubs and fans are prepared for all match attenders to have their Covid-19 status checked upon arrival, should it become mandatory.
‘Even though the nation is reopening, the Government has made it clear that this pandemic is still far from over.
‘It is possible the safety measures for matches could be subject to change at short notice. Fans should continue to follow the latest public health guidance and guidance from their club.
‘However, even in these uncertain times, we are optimistic that by continuing to work together with fans, supporter groups, football stakeholders, national Government and local authorities everyone can enjoy full and vibrant stadiums while staying safe from Covid-19.
‘The Premier League will continue consulting with all key stakeholders, including the Football Supporters’ Association, and will be running a series of fan-engagement campaigns to help all ticket-holders ensure they are match-ready.’
A graphic showing how some England fans gained access to Wembley despite the checkpoints
England fans stormed through the security barriers at Wembley ahead of the Euro 2020 final
The 2020/21 Premier League season kicks-off on Friday with Arsenal playing Brentford
Stadiums might be back open but the coronavirus is still having an effect on the experience
Capacity limits are now decided at local level after the government eased restrictions over three weeks ago.
Newly-promoted Brentford host Arsenal in the first game of the 2021-22 Premier League season on Friday night, with the majority of teams kicking off on Saturday.
The EFL started last weekend and saw fans return, while top-flight clubs have also been playing pre-season friendlies with supporters back inside stadiums.
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