The Star (Kenya)

UK gov­ern­ment to re­view plans to have fans back

- Sports · United Kingdom · Manchester · Boris Johnson · Oliver Dowden · Twitter

MANCH­ESTER / The Pre­mier League’s hopes of bring­ing fans back into sta­di­ums in early Oc­to­ber could be ham­pered af­ter the UK gov­ern­ment said it will re­view the plans and limit test events for sport.

Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son told a Down­ing Street news con­fer­ence that pi­lot events for sport in Septem­ber would be re­stricted to a max­i­mum of 1,000 fans per event.

“We must re­vise plans to pi­lot larger au­di­ences in venues later this month and re­view our in­ten­tion to re­turn au­di­ences to sta­di­ums from 1 Oc­to­ber,” John­son said. “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,” he said.

Cul­ture Sec­re­tary Oliver Dow­den said on Twit­ter that changes to the plans will be an­nounced shortly, fol­low­ing an in­creased num­ber of COVID-19 cases in the UK. “Work con­tin­ues round the clock with the am­bi­tion of hav­ing au­di­ences back much closer to nor­mal by Christ­mas,” Dow­den said.

The new Pre­mier League sea­son starts on Satur­day and, as with the games played since the re­sump­tion of last sea­son in June fol­low­ing the coronaviru­s lock­down, they will be closed to fans.

Pre­mier League chief ex­ec­u­tive Richard Masters said the league re­mained ready to carry out test events with the goal of get­ting some fans back in grounds by Oct. 1. “We are al­ways sub­ject to a gov­ern­ment de­ci­sion and they haven’t made that de­ci­sion yet. All I can say is that to the Pre­mier League and the Pre­mier League clubs stand ready will­ing and able to con­tinue with our test events and test pro­pos­als and open our turn­stiles from Oc­to­ber 1st if we are given per­mis­sion to do so,” Masters told re­porters.

“If Project Restart taught us any­thing it is that we have to be flex­i­ble and be will­ing to meet the bumps in the road,” he said.

Masters said the ab­sence of fans had an eco­nomic im­pact be­yond the af­fected clubs. “There are im­pli­ca­tions, with ev­ery match round that goes by with­out fans there are sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial im­pli­ca­tions for ev­ery club in the foot­ball pyra­mid so it does have an im­pact,” he said.

 ?? / REUTERS ?? Bri­tain’s Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son ges­tures dur­ing a vir­tual news con­fer­ence
/ REUTERS Bri­tain’s Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son ges­tures dur­ing a vir­tual news con­fer­ence

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