Sport pilots to be reduced in capacity to 1,000 people socially distanced

The government is to reduce the number of people that can attend sporting events to pilot the safe return of spectators to 1,000 in light of the increase in the number of positive coronavirus cases.

While a number of successful pilots have already been held in football, rugby, cricket and snooker given the overall national COVID situation pilots will now be limited in number.

The change will come into effect from tomorrow for all sports pilots due to happen this month.

The government will also make a decision on whether fans can return to sports stadia socially distanced on 1 October and if people will be able to attend business conferences and events from that date.

Organised grassroots sport will be able to continue in a covid-secure way to help people stay fit and healthy. This includes organised team sports, Parkrun and exercise classes in gyms and leisure centres.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “In light of increasing transmission rates, the Government is reviewing the proposed sports and business events pilots ahead of the 1 October and we will unfortunately need to scale some back. We know fans and audiences are eager to return, and jobs depend on this too, so work continues around the clock on the moonshot project with the ambition of having audiences back much closer to normal by Christmas, if safe to do so.”

The government announced the latest sporting events to pilot the safe return of spectators on 26 August and was clear that they would only take place if the latest scientific and medical advice allowed for them to proceed in a Covid-secure way.

Clear guidance has been produced in consultation with the Sports Ground Safety Authority to set out the strict measures that test events must follow to limit the spread of coronavirus.

This includes upholding social distancing in queues, minimising the risk of any pinch points or crowding and recording people’s data to assist NHS Test and Trace.