The Government hopes to have lifted all restrictions on attendance at sports events in England by June 21, paving the way for the possibility of capacity crowds this summer.
Pilot events – including the FA Cup semi-finals and final, plus the World Snooker Championship – are set to take place in April and May using enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing.
Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the major events which stand to benefit in the second half of the year.
The delayed football championship begins on June 11 – before the final step on the Government’s ‘road map’ for the easing of coronavirus restrictions – but the hope will be that England’s final group game against the Czech Republic on June 22 could be played in front of a significant crowd at the 90,000-capacity Wembley. The London venue is due to host four further matches in the knockout stage, including both semi-finals and the final.
The UK’s grand slam tennis tournament was cancelled but crowds are set to return to SW19 this summer – albeit in reduced numbers.
Tournament organisers the All England Lawn Tennis Club say there will not be the traditional queue – replaced instead by online sales – and that the “most likely outcome” is a reduced number of spectators within the grounds.
British grand prix
The Formula One championship race takes place on July 18 this year. The managing director of the Silverstone circuit, Stuart Pringle, is hopeful of allowing a large number of spectators in, pointing out that the venue has 70,000 grandstand seats spread out over three-and-a-half miles.
Premier League 2021-22
Fans look set to be able to attend the concluding rounds of the current season but the English top flight’s chief executive, Richard Masters, is even more optimistic for the 2021-22 campaign which kicks off on August 14. He said earlier this month: “From the beginning of next season onwards, our goal is to have full stadia and the Government’s road map offers us that opportunity. There’s a lot of water to pass under the bridge before that can happen but that’s our ultimate goal.”
England v India cricket
The showpiece series of the summer gets under way on August 4 when the first of five Tests starts at Trent Bridge. An England and Wales Cricket Board statement from February said: “Our leading venues strongly believe they have the technology and know-how to return capacity crowds and we look forward to working in close partnership with the Government to identify ways in which this can be achieved in a safe and controlled manner this season.”
Potentially the largest event of them all, with 50,000 runners set to take part in the capital on October 3. A significantly larger number – possibly as many as half a million – could line the city’s streets to cheer on the mix of elite athletes and amateur runners.
Rugby League World Cup
The finals in England begin on October 23 and end on November 27. Tickets first go on general sale from April 6. Asked about capacities for the tournament, Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer said on Monday: “We would like to see 50 per cent and upwards. There is a long way to travel but I definitely think that is doable.”