UK to test Covid-19 certificates to reopen football matches to fans

Culture Secretary says ‘significant numbers’ could be allowed back to games under plan

Jon Stone
Policy Correspondent
Friday 19 March 2021 10:37
<p>Football matches have been played without fans of late</p>

Football matches have been played without fans of late

The UK will pilot using Covid-19 certificates as a means to safely reopen sports matches, concerts, and other large events, the culture secretary has announced.

Oliver Dowden said the certificates, which would show it someone was vaccinated, could be used to let people return to larger events "in significant numbers".

The news comes ahead of several key dates over the next few months when restrictions are planned to be eased.

"From June 21, if all goes to plan in the way that I described, we hope to get people back in significant numbers," Mr Dowden told Sky News.

"We're piloting the different things that will enable that to happen - clearly it will have to be done in a Covid-secure way.

"You would expect, and we will be testing these things, things like one-way systems, things like masks, things like hand hygiene and everything else.

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"Another thing that we are considering is a Covid certification, and we will be testing whether we can use Covid certification to help facilitate the return of sports."

Mr Dowden said no final decision on the policy had been taken and that Michael Gove's review of the issue would provide more answers.

The issue of domestic Covid passports or certificates sits alongside questions about whether they will be required for international travel.

The EU this week confirmed it was planning a rollout of travel green passes before the summer, in time for the holiday season.

Juropean Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said the proposed certificates would be "for all EU citizens, their families when they're leaving the EU or living abroad".

But the question is controversial because it would by definition see older people given more freedom to travel or attend events first – as they have been prioritised for vaccines.

Questions have also been raised about the certainty of vaccines preventing the transmission of different variants of Covid-19.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said this week the government was looking at the idea of vaccine passports for travel and had been "discussing what the best way to proceed is".

"We are having debates, discussions about travel... but I think what we also have to do is be driven by the data, we've got to see how coronavirus develops," he told BBC News.

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