British sports fans to be allowed back into pilot events

Around 300 British sports fans will attend the final two days of the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre this weekend.

A fan holds beers as he attends the Surrey vs Middlesex cricket match in London recently. After banning spectators fearing the spread of the virus, the British Government has once again allowed fans to witness some pilot events.   -  REUTERS

British sports fans will be allowed in to witness some pilot events from this weekend to test the safe return of spectators, with the government hoping bigger crowds can start attending venues from the start of October.

Around 300 spectators will attend the final two days of the World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre this weekend, the British government said on Thursday.

It added that "more pilot events will follow with a view to reopening competition venues for sports fans, with social distancing measures in place” from October 1.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called off previously planned pilot events with some fans in attendance during the first two weeks of August amid fears over the coronavirus infection rate.

However, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said, “we can now make further careful progress on recovery with allowing audiences back for indoor performances, fans back at sports events and the reopening of more COVID-19 secure leisure businesses.”

The World Snooker Championship started its first day with spectators in attendance, and around 5,000 horse racing fans had been due to attend the Glorious Goodwood Festival on August 1.

But those plans were shelved abruptly, with the government determined to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The plan set out in the roadmap to recovery was paused for two weeks but will now resume from Saturday, except for specific areas where local restrictions are in place.