Letter To Political Leaders From Sports Industry LeadersPeter Houghton
Following on from my earlier article concerning Covid Passports, I have now received the text of the letter sent to Political Leaders from the providers of our many important sporting competitions, some of which are, of course, played on a world-level footing. Simple and to the point, here it is…..
Embargo: 22.00hrs Thursday 8 April
Boris Johnson MP
Keir Starmer MP
Ian Blackford MP
Ed Davey MP
Liz Saville-Roberts MP
8 April 2021
Sports support Covid certification (testing and vaccination) review as a credible option to enable full venues from 21 June onwards
We welcome the Government’s commitment to securing a return of spectators to sporting events and the support all political parties and the devolved administrations have shown to returning sport at all levels throughout the pandemic.
This week’s announcement by the Prime Minister that the Government’s roadmap for easing the lockdown restrictions remains on course is very welcome news.
Sporting events can continue to plan for the return of small numbers of spectators from 17 May. At this stage of the process all spectators will need to follow social distancing requirements and attendance will be capped at a maximum of 25% of larger venue’s capacity. However, this will still be insufficient to end sport’s Covid financial crisis.
Looking ahead to June 21, we support the Government’s ambition to secure the full return of fans, without restrictions if possible. Of necessity, this will depend upon the Government agreeing that it is safe to lessen or drop social distancing requirements.
How this can be achieved is being examined by the Events Research Programme (ERP) which is looking at a range of options, including the extent to which social distancing can be relaxed. This work is supported by all of the major sporting bodies.
All of our sports are committed to working closely with the ERP to explore all of the options that will allow us to swiftly return to full capacities. We also understand that further guidance will be issued by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Sports Grounds Safety Authority.
It is important that we have certainty as soon as possible on the form this guidance will take so we can plan efficiently and effectively with many big sporting events scheduled for late June and onwards.
The return of fans will give a huge boost to millions who enjoy a day out at a sporting event with their friends and families and be of great benefit to the economy. It is right that every possible action is considered to secure this outcome as soon as possible, but only for as long as an unrestricted return is considered unsafe to fans, matchday staff and the wider public.
This includes investigating how a Covid certification arrangement could reduce and then safely remove the requirement for social distancing.
There are many issues to be addressed including how the technology would work and its ease of use at major events, for both the attendees and the organisers.
All of our sports can see the benefit that a Covid certification process offers in getting more fans safely back to their sport as quickly as possible. We know that our stadia can only be fully filled with an assurance process.
This process must ensure that everyone can access stadia and must include arrangements that would verify a negative Covid test or an antibody test alongside vaccination certification.
The final approach must not be discriminatory, should protect privacy, and have clear exit criteria.
We also reiterate that certification should not be a requirement for any form of participation in grassroots sport around the country.
Based on these principles, we support the review of the use of covid certification for major events. Any final decision on their application should follow an assessment of the evidence gathered in the forthcoming ERP trials.
We look forward to working with Government and all interested parties, including our stakeholders and fans, to deliver the great sporting summer the whole nation craves.
The AELTC, Wimbledon
English Football League (EFL)
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)
Football Association (The FA)
Lawn Tennis Association (LTA)
Premier League (PL)
Rugby Football League (RFL)
Rugby Football Union (RFU)
Scottish Professional Football League