Warning over return of football fans
MATCH day football crowds in February and March were linked to higher Covid-19 cases and fatalities before spectators were banned, a study by economists has found.
Academics at Aston University and the University of Reading analysed outbreaks after 1,249 league and cup games across the top eight tiers of English football.
They found there were six extra Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in areas where games took place, as well as two additional deaths. Football has been played behind closed doors since the lockdown, but League Two club Cambridge United is preparing to host the first professional game in front of a crowd for five months under a pilot scheme tonight.
Economists Matthew Olczak,
James Reade and Matthew Yeo found the biggest impact was triggered by teams playing away in March, potentially due to supporters travelling together to fixtures on public transport in larger groups.
The authors said: “Our results suggest caution in returning to unrestricted spectator attendance at matches.” Cambridge United will host just 1,000 spectators tonight.