Prime Minister Boris Johnson reveals football crowds could return in October with ‘pilot’ events planned
PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 July 2020 | UPDATED: 12:28 17 July 2020
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed he expects football supporters to be able to return to stadiums ‘from October’.
All football was halted in England from March 13 due to the coronavirus crisis before the Premier League and Championship returned in June, with games played in empty grounds.
Ipswich Town’s League One season was cancelled, however, with final standings decided using a points-per-game formula and the third and fourth-tier play-offs played out behind-closed-doors.
Discussions continue regarding a start date for next season, with September 12 the most likely, with the Prime Minister hoping crowds will soon follow as the government plan test events in the coming weeks.
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Speaking at a press conference on Friday morning, Mr Johnson said: “We will pilot larger gatherings in venues like sports stadiums with a view to a wider reopening in the autumn,” said Johnson on Friday.
“From October, we intend to bring back audiences in stadiums.
“Again, these changes must be done in a Covid-secure way, subject to the successful outcome of pilots.”
Those potential pilot events are said to inlcude the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield, starting on July 31, the County Championship cricket match between Surrey and Middlesex at The Oval on July 26, the Glorious Goodwood race meeting between July 28 and August 1.
Any return to stadiums would be subject to social distancing measures, with Ipswich already discussing how they would allow fans to return safely by using separate entrances and potentially assigning staggered times to enter Portman Road.