Foxhall’s British speedway final could be scrapped, but it could be better news for non-league
PUBLISHED: 15:04 09 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:29 09 September 2020
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Sport pilot events in England scheduled for the rest of September could be limited to 1,000 spectators as coronavirus restrictions are tightened nationwide.
And this could impact on the British speedway final, set for Ipswich on September 26.
That’s because it it understood more than 2,000 tickets are set to be available for the event, which could either lead it to be scrapped or the attendance figure reduced, for an event Ipswich Witches promoter Chris Louis had said he was ‘super excited’ about staging.
Tickets for the British Final had already gone on sale.
However, it is thought outdoor football is permitted to continue as before, while Step 3 and below can continue to have spectators at the current levels. All this to be confirmed.
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, said: “We are reviewing the list of proposed sports pilots ahead of 1 Oct, in light of the increased number of cases. Details of changes will be announced shortly.”
Officials from Doncaster racecourse announced that following Wednesday’s trial with crowds at the St Leger Festival, the remainder of the meeting will take place behind closed doors.
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It comes as the government moved to ban gatherings of more than six people in England from Monday in response to a rise in Covid-19 cases to levels last seen during the national lockdown.
The St Leger was one of a number of events confirmed as pilot events for spectators back on August 26, in the lead-up to a planned wider return of sports spectators on a socially-distanced basis from October 1.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined changes at a Downing Street news conference, where he was joined by England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK government’s chief scientific adviser.
It is understood that pilot events which have already been arranged to test the safe return of spectators will be limited to a maximum of 1,000 people with social distancing measures in place.
While organised team sport will proceed, following the recent increase in infections, plans for the anticipated return of fans to grounds from the start of October will be reviewed, as will those for attending conferences.
Mr Johnson said: “At the present time we must also I am afraid revise plans to pilot larger audiences in venues later this month and review our intention to return audiences to stadiums and conference centres from October 1.
“But that doesn’t mean we are going to scrap the programme entirely, we are just going to have to review it and abridge it and the Culture Secretary will say more about that shortly.”
Today’s racing was the first to allow in spectators since March.
Other scheduled pilot events are a Women’s Super League football match between West Ham and Arsenal on Saturday, football’s non-league finals day on September 27, race meetings at Warwick and Newmarket on September 21 and 24 respectively, a basketball exhibition match in Newcastle on September 18.
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