London, UK | XINHUA | Fans could return to stadiums in England in October if pilot events go well, announced the British government on Friday.
All mass gatherings have been suspended here since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic before snooker, football, cricket and a few elite sport events resumed in June behind closed doors.
“From October, we intend to bring back audiences in stadia and to allow conferences and other business events to recommence,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday, but emphasized that these changes must be done in a COVID-19 secure way and subject to the successful outcome of pilot events.
A small number of sporting events will be used to pilot the safe return of spectators through late July and early August. They are expected to include two men’s county cricket friendly matches, the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre from July 31 and the Glorious Goodwood horse racing festival on August 1.
“There are also likely to be further pilot events for other sports, in order to build up to and prepare for the full, socially distanced return of sporting events from 1 October 2020,” read a statement released by the British Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
“For months millions of us have felt the void of being unable to go to the match to support our team or attend a top-class sporting event. So I am pleased that we are now able to move forward with a plan to help venues safely reopen their doors to fans,” said Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston.
“Although it will remain some time before venues are full to capacity, this is a major step in the right direction for the resumption of live spectator sport across the country.”
Earlier this month, the British government has allowed some sporting events to exempt from quarantine in England, giving the green light for the return of F1, snooker, golf and international football competitions.