Boris Johnson announces 'review' of plans to allow fans into stadiums from October

Boris Johnson announces review into planned return to sport of fans after increasing the UK’s coronavirus restrictions following an increase in daily cases

Boris Johnson announces 'review' of plans to allow fans into stadiums from October

The government will “revise and review” plans to allow fans back into sporting events from 1 October after Boris Johnson imposed a maximum limit of six people to attend social gatherings.

The prime minister said on Wednesday that any gatherings indoors or outdoors featuring more than six people will be made illegal from Monday, and although the planned pilot events on sport will now face a review regarding if they are safe enough to go ahead, elite professional sport will still continue.

“We must revise plans to pilot larger audiences in stadiums & review our intention to return audiences to stadiums from the 1st October,” Johnson said, adding that “organised sport will still be able to proceed”.

Oliver Dowden, the secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, is expected to add further detail on the conditions that will need to be met in order for pilot events to go ahead, as well as whether the 1 October target for a partial return of fans will have to be pushed back, due to the growing number of coronavirus cases in the UK.

The development came after officials from Doncaster racecourse announced that following Wednesday's trial with crowds at the St Leger Festival - the first day with racegoers back in attendance - the remainder of the meeting will take place behind closed doors.

The St Leger was one of a number of events confirmed as pilot events for spectators back on 26 August, in the lead-up to a planned wider return of sports spectators on a socially-distanced basis from 1 October .

Other scheduled pilot events are a Women's Super League football match between West Ham and Arsenal on Saturday, football's non-league finals day on 27 September, race meetings at Warwick and Newmarket on 21 and 24 September respectively, a basketball exhibition match in Newcastle on 18 September and a speedway event in Ipswich on 26 September.

The Premier League intends to work with the government towards getting crowds back into top-flight football games as soon as possible.

Chief executive Richard Masters told Sky Sports News: "We are ready, willing and able to be ambitious with our testing as soon as we have permission to open the turnstiles.

"Whether it is on October 1 or soon afterwards, we'll do so with gusto using the current guidelines - it is on average around one quarter full in Premier League stadiums. That will be a start.

"We want to work with government to put in ambitious testing programmes to prove that it is safe to move beyond those social distance guidelines as soon as possible."

Masters has warned of the financial impact of games continuing to be played behind closed doors for a long period of time.

Fans returned to horse racing at the St Leger meet at Doncaster on Wednesday

He added: "With every match round that goes by without fans in the stadiums there are significant financial implications for all clubs - not just in the Premier League but throughout the pyramid. You can't get away from that.

"We want to work with government. We understand September is a big month with the return of schools and universities and more people returning to work. It is important that gets done and gets done safely. Hopefully sport can follow swiftly."

Additional reporting by PA

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