The Daily Telegraph

Wimbledon singles finals among few full-capacity sporting events

- By Tony Diver and Ben Rumsby

The Wimbledon singles finals, four Euro 2020 games and the British Grand Prix will be among the few sporting events allowed to open their doors to large crowds before the end of lockdown on July 19.

Major sporting organisers were last night lobbying the Government to be allowed to take part in a new pilot scheme that will permit crowds of up to full capacity at up to 20 events.

The men’s and women’s singles finals at Wimbledon and British GP at Silverston­e on July 18 are among the chosen few that can increase their ticket sales. Tennis will take place at half capacity at the start of Wimbledon on June 28, rising to 100 per cent at Centre Court for the finals, which will be the first sellout outdoor sports event in over a year.

Four Wembley Euro 2020 games will also be allowed to increase their capacity to half of the stadium, totalling around 40,000 fans. The current rules allow just 22,500.

The last match of the round of 16, both semi-finals and the final will take place at half capacity, under plans agreed by ministers to allow more fans to watch England’s matches if they reach the tournament’s final stages.

Silverston­e hopes it too will be allowed to run at full capacity outdoors on the eve of restrictio­ns lifting.

Speaking at a press conference last night, the Prime Minister said: “We will continue to pilot events such as Euro 2020 and some theatrical performanc­es.” These may include Andrew Lloyd Webber’s latest production, Cinderella.

The announceme­nt will prompt other organisers to step up their lobbying to be among the 20 events. England is playing numerous cricket and rugby matches before July 19, while the golf Open Championsh­ip is taking place at Royal St George’s in Kent on July 15-18.

The rules at stage three of the UK’S lockdown roadmap mean events not part of the scheme can only host 10,000 fans or a quarter of their capacity – whichever is lower.

Under the pilot, which follows a similar initiative that allowed a club night and sports events to go ahead, officials will measure the spread of Covid among spectators in different scenarios.

Those will include fans being seated and unseated, and with venues operating up to full capacity, and with some using Covid passports via the NHS app.

Use of the app is not expected to be compulsory, but attendees will be required to take tests to guarantee their status before and after the events.

Officials want to use the NHS app to show a user’s “natural immunity status” from previous infection or vaccinatio­n.

Under a previous pilot, attendees were expected to take PCR tests, which measure the presence of the virus, and lateral flow tests, which do the same but are considered less reliable.

‘We will continue to pilot events such as Euro 2020 and some theatrical performanc­es’

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