Premier League clubs told to trial vaccine passports for fans to attend matches

The government is considering the use of the NHS Covid pass for large-scale events

Miguel Delaney
Chief Football Writer
Thursday 29 July 2021 19:57
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<p>Premier League fans may be forced to prove they’ve had the Covid vaccine</p>

Premier League fans may be forced to prove they’ve had the Covid vaccine

The Premier League has told all clubs to trial vaccine passports, ahead of potential mandatory requirements by October.

The government has indicated that it is considering the use of the NHS Covid pass for large-scale events, having already confirmed they will be necessitated for nightclubs from the end of September.

The football authorities and clubs want to ensure crowd attendance goes as smoothly as possible if any measures are brought in, so will start a trial process imminently.

Many in the game now feel vaccine passports for Premier League games are likely to eventually be mandated.

It would mean supporters wanting to attend matches must prove they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

The Premier League will work closely with the clubs to support them in trials, and the view across the competition is that public health is a priority.

The trials will determine how speedily and efficiently the system can work, and whether further technology is required.

There is a possibility that having mobile phone checks in addition to ticket checks could significantly slow entry down, so it is possible that the clubs eventually look into activating tickets through the NHS app.

The Premier League clubs have also taken note of the chaos at Wembley for the Euro 2020 final, and how so many supporters ultimately evaded Covid checks, with that forming a prominent part of discussions.

Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea have already confirmed they would trial the use of the NHS pass for their forthcoming friendly games – Chelsea-Spurs on 4 August and Spurs-Arsenal on 8 August – although they will also allow negative results from lateral flow devices.

There is a confidence among the two clubs that they have the processes in place to help it run smoothly, although it is currently unlikely those two games will be at full capacity. These matches will nevertheless be case studies that inform the trials.

Chelsea have said the requirement will ensure that no one who attends is at high risk of passing on Covid, and that is generally seen within the game as a greater right than the right of the unvaccinated to go to games, which is why there is support for the government plans.

Fans can prove their vaccination status with the NHS Covid Pass on the app or with a vaccination letter. For these two friendlies, and likely the first two months of the Premier League season at least, supporters with a negative test will also be able to gain entry through a result on the NHS app, or via a text message or email from NHS track and trace.

No final decision has been made yet on whether there will be a vaccination requirement for matches, but talks are ongoing, and many in football now expect it.

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