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Government’s new rules slammed by fans planning to attend matches next season

The government’s new rules has been slammed this week by fans who are ready in planning to attend football matches next season.

Supporters attending games may need a Covid Passport to gain entry to stadiums from the first round of matches in August.

The Government is expected to ‘encourage’ the use of Covid certification and masks for large crowds but will not mandate either.

However, it is highly unlikely any sport would ignore Government guidance on this matter given the risk and consequences of yet another Covid outbreak, something we’re seeing already with many pre-season friendlies getting postponed weeks before the new campaign.

The development of new guidance follows Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging the use of Covid passports amid renewed fears that big crowds could accelerate the spread of coronavirus after Freedom Day on the 19th of July.

The Government is set to lift all legal restrictions on social distancing from Monday as the country moves from Step Three to Step Four of the roadmap out of lockdown.

For Premier League, EFL and no doubt some non league football, it now looks increasingly likely that Government will hope to see a certification scheme in place.

Covid certification uses the NHS app, which can confirm if a person has received two doses of the vaccine, has a negative lateral flow test or has natural immunity to the virus from a previous infection.

Ministers are said to be mindful that not all sports will be in a position to implement Covid Passports from Monday and it ‘is not the flick of a switch on the 19th and everyone is ready’, according to a Whitehall source, who added: ‘There will be gradual encouragement to roll it out.’

Though the Government thinks a system could be ready for implementation at the start of next season. The top flight has been working towards a scheme for some time and is understood to be exploring early implementation.

Latitude may be given to lower league clubs, which could be granted more time to prepare for the introduction of Covid certification.

Previously, the Cabinet Secretary, Michael Gove, said to MPs that if implemented, Covid passports could be used for capacities at football stadiums above 20,000. This would include all Premier League grounds and a significant number in the EFL.

The Premier League, along with other sports, has been clear that it considers Covid passports will be required at some point during the season in order to main large crowds if infection rates rise in the autumn or winter.

However, the idea of using Covid passports as a fall-back option now appears to have been overtaken by a desire to see them in place from week one as the UK is hit by a third wave of infection, driven by the Delta variant.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, confirmed on Monday night that people must exercise ‘extreme caution’ when legal restrictions on social distancing are scrapped from the 19th of July.

The PM said venues with large crowds would be urged to adopt Covid certification ‘as a matter of social responsibility’.

He said relevant businesses should ‘make use’ of the NHS Covid app, which shows proof of double vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity, as ‘a means of entry’.

Covid Passports are currently being tested as part of Phase Three of the Government’s Events Research Programme.

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Government’s new rules slammed by fans planning to attend matches next season

However supporters attending Euro 2020 matches at Wembley and the Wimbledon tennis championships have highlighted flaws in the system, which involves a cursory check of the app or a test result by a steward.

The scheme has been designed by Government and its scientific advisors, not the venues.

There has been concern that stewards could be easily mislead by spectators using a screen shot of someone else’s app or indeed, any QR code, since the it is not scanned to ensure it is genuine or cross-referenced with a ticket to be certain the person entering the venue is the ticket holder.

‘No QR code readers at Wembley,’ tweeted Nottingham Forest fan, Martyn Scott. ‘The steward just asked me if [the QR code] meant I’d had two vaccinations. I said yes. He said go through. I could have used a free pizza code.’

The Premier League has been looking at how it could integrate scanning the NHS app QR code with checking tickets at the turnstiles, but it is unclear whether an adequate solution has been found or could be implemented by the start of the new season.

Guidance is also expected to clarify the use of masks at sporting events. Sources suggest masks will be required at large sporting events from July the 19th.

“Through guidance, we will be encouraging the use of masks. Certainly, an event organiser can put it as a condition of entry.” A Whitehall source told the Telegraph.

The Government is yet to finalise its position on masks or decide how prescriptive it will be with talks ongoing to cement plans.

Last season, supporters in the Premier League and EFL were not required to wear masks while sat in their seats outdoors but did so when inside and entering and leaving the stadium, under rules set out by the Sports Ground Safety Authority.

At the Euro 2020 final at Wembley on Sunday similar rules were in place but almost universally ignored.

As mentioned, the Government’s new rules was slammed by fans planning to attend matches next season…

@Quiffhead1976: Do one! The PM & Sage members have been to major sporting events in the last few weeks without masks…. Masks only for the Plebs…

@ClarkGEwan: What’s the point of getting the vaccine if you still need to wear a mask ffs

@macharightnow: What, like Patrick Vallance did at Wimbledon?

@FakeHughton: Masks were not worn at euros games. Just look at footage from the games at Wembley where they had up to 60,000 fans in the stadium. Barely anyone wore masks. And that’s inside lockdown. Outside of lockdown there’s no way that we will be told to wear masks.

@neil003: Oh well. I best get used to fishing most weekends then.

@danielwooood: so you don’t have to wear a mask on public transport… but you have to in an open air stadium? what a backward country

@ROBBIEBCFC1875: I ain’t wearing a mask

@westhtafc: Thats alot of season ticket refunds going to have to be paid out

@cjblues2505: Open air sporting events should not have any restrictions

@laurence_1999: Won’t put me off going but this is ridiculous considering we’re outdoors, especially when MPs don’t even wear masks in parliament

@Dandulum: So, I’ll be able to get on a bus, without a mask. Walk into many boozers before the match without a mask. Go to get food without a mask, to then get to the stadium, be asked if I’ve been vaccinated (even tho you can still catch it) then wear a mask. Boozer after and bus home. 🤦🏻‍♂️

@MattStark1991: I dont see why you should need both. If you give a negative test or have had the vaccine then why is a mask needed? Especially at outdoor events.

@cDaveCc: So basically freedom day isn’t freedom, restrictions stay and even worse, there’s no criteria for ending them *ever*

@TheNeighSayer: Won’t be going then. What’s the point in being vaccinated if we still have to wear masks?

@lwindsor17: Total ridiculous won’t be going if that’s the case

@gbutler0385: So how is that dropping all Covid Restrictions then? Wearing masks in sporting events but not having to in Tesco. Makes perfect sense 🙈🙈🙈

@iistuii: So Wembley had 60,000 in Sunday with no masks, but if it was a capacity crowd they need masks, show me the science behind this

@si1985: Can’t see lower league teams doing this they need the money

@jayaldridge50: Queue all the refunds. Absolutely disgusting this is.

@CUSHNlE: Wont be going then 👍

@jw1818_: Just not going to happen is it

@D_coll81: Haha the old bill will love this. Packed football grounds and if there is any trouble they won’t be able to ID anyone. Makes zero sense after the Euros and Wimbledon being mask free.

@Mr_Stozza: Wearing a mask outside watching football is bonkers.

@CafcBen2021: Not going then #cafc

@NVine8: Midweek games can be bad enough without a mask.

@SmithyWFC85: Wasn’t this suppose to happen at Wembley but hardly saw anyone with a mask?

@ambassador_view: Masks in concourses but not seated areas? Although not really practical even then as concourses are mainly for eating and drinking.

@iboyd1984: So you don’t have to wear a mask on a crowded train but do in an open stadium?

@MarioLo73770618: Face masks out side get fcked!!! Got my season ticket and I shall not be wearing a face covering

@ltezz123: That makes absolutely no sense! Football stadium seating areas are technically outdoor areas, meaning it’s harder for COVID to transmit! 🤯 what’s the point in vaccines then

@Latte_lover1: Imagine having a vaccine where you were promised you’d get a “normal life” in return, only to find when “freedom day” comes along you end up having to show proof and still wear a mask to watch the footie 🤦‍♀️

@basedharry_: Lol everyone will just fake a test and like at the Euros nobody will wear masks 😂

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