Ministers eye vaccine passports for Premier League matches and large events

Queens Park Rangers v Manchester United – Pre Season Friendly – Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium
(Image credit: Steven Paston)

Only fully-vaccinated football fans may be able to attend Premier League matches and other events with more than 20,000 spectators from October under Government plans.

Boris Johnson risks provoking further criticism from backbench Conservatives as ministers seek to extend the future use of vaccine passports from nightclubs to sporting stadiums.

Talks are in an early phase with the Premier League to discuss whether supporters who have not been double-jabbed could be barred from entry, the PA news agency understands.

The use of vaccine passports could also be extended to lower divisions and other sports in England as ministers seek to reduce the surge of Covid-19 cases as other restrictions are ended.

HEALTH Coronavirus

(PA Graphics)

While no final decisions have been made, it is currently being discussed whether vaccine passports could be introduced for seated events with a capacity of 20,000 people and over.

In unseated events such as music gigs, where there are greater concerns about strangers mingling and spreading Covid-19, the threshold for their introduction could be as low as 5,000 attendees.

A Government source said: “It’s important that fans can continue to watch sporting events over the autumn, which is why we’re exploring the role vaccines might play in this.

“This will not only allow full capacity stadiums but has the added bonus of incentivising people of all ages to go and get their jab.”

One area still said to be under discussion is whether a recent negative test could allow entry to football matches, but their use has been ruled out for nightclubs.

The Football Association, the Premier League and the EFL declined to comment when approached by the PA news agency.

Football’s governing bodies had been hoping for no restrictions ahead of the new season, but it is understood both the Premier League and the English Football League have been planning for such an eventuality.

The Premier League has been liaising with clubs and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to establish the best way for fans to provide proof of vaccination, but it is not expected that this will be required at the start of the season.

Premier League clubs are expected to use their pre-season friendly matches to help them trial certification.

The EFL has previously said it was awaiting government advice and has also been making contingency plans in case of such an eventuality.

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