What does Monday's changes to lockdown mean for sports fans?

Supporters can attend some contests, but only on public land...

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 9:02 am
Updated Thursday, 8th April 2021, 9:04 am
Fans can watch games on public land.

The Government have announced their latest guidance for watching sport - and it has led to controversy amongst clubs and fans.

The next stage of lockdown easing comes into place on Monday (April 12).

But while outdoor hospitality and fetes are allowed to return, it's not that simple for sports venues.

Fans can go to watch grassroots sport - in groups of no more than six or two households - but only if it is on public land - while staged events in grounds will not be allowed fans in until May 17 at the earliest.

This means some football clubs and other sports teams who had hoped to welcome back supporters as they stage supplementary competitions and friendlies cannot do so.

The Football Association had originally suggested fans would be able to return to all grassroots sports venues by April 12. They are yet to comment on the new ruling.

A statement from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport read: "Spectators are not permitted to attend sporting events taking place on private land, other than adults needed to supervise under 18s that they have a responsibility for or providing care or assistance to a person with disabilities participating in an organised sporting event or activity.

"They should maintain social distance and not mix with other households.

"This does not prevent people from viewing recreational or organised sport that is taking place in a public space, eg a park, in groups of up to six people or two households.

"However, sporting events that are intended to attract spectators (including ticketed events), or events that are likely to attract a significant number of spectators (eg a major marathon) should not take place in a public space, or on private land, until step three (May 17)."

The statement continued: "An event can take place at step two (of easing, from Monday) if all three of the following conditions are met: a) The event takes place outdoors; b) Attendees are expected to arrive and leave the event in a staggered manner throughout the day; c) It does not involve attendees converging on and congregating in a site for a specific discrete performance or activity, such as a theatre or music performance, or it is a drive-in performance or show."

This means events such as agricultural shows, fairs and car boot sales can go ahead, but not sports events with specific time slots.

Events that are able to commence from Monday are not subject to a capacity cap on attendees, but should have no more than 4,000 visitors in one day.

In a bid to try to get the country back to normal, some sports venues will trial the return of supporters.

Football, snooker and running will be among a number of pilot events for elite sport that will allow fans back as part of a pilot scheme.

Up to 4,000 fans will be allowed to attend an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley on April 18.

It is hoped up to 8,000 can attend the Carabao Cup final (April 25) and 21,000 the FA Cup final (May 15).

Up to 1,000 can attend the Snooker World Championships – the only sport event to be held indoors – at the Crucible and 3,000 the the Hatfield Park Three 10k runs.